On a stormy day last week, the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire Imam Monawar Hussain and assembled guests planted what we believe was the first tree in Oxfordshire to be planted as part of the Queens Green Canopy scheme.
The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.
The Tree planting took place in Flo’s – the Place in the Park, a community enterprise hub run by the community for the community for the community in Florence Park, Cowley. The tree planting was followed by a delicious lunch provided by Oxford Community Action Kitchen.
The High Sheriff Monawar Hussain said:
“Her Majesty in her Accession Day message, had expressed her hope that the Platinum Jubilee would ‘bring together families and friends, neighbours and communities..’, that is precisely what we achieved at Flo’s in the Park. Despite the rain, the turnout was excellent and each time our diverse communities and individuals come together, we create something most beautiful and precious – a real sense of community. My heartfelt thanks to the teams at Flo’s and Oxford Community Action, for making the occasion so thoroughly enjoyable for all.”
Richard Hadfield, Chair of Flo’s the Place in the Park said:
“The holly tree was planted in the entrance area to Flo’s – symbolising welcome, new life and connection to the wildlife of the park and the planet. It has been just over three years since the community took over the running of this building during which it has gained new lease of life with a popular childcare nursery, community midwives, café, shop and much more. This kind of event really represents the spirit of Flo’s and the diversity and inclusion we want to promote.”
After the main holly tree was planted at Flo’s, the High Sherriff’s seven interfaith chaplains carried smaller holly plants to another area of the park to create a hedge of protection in The NaturEscape. This is a separately fenced dog free area of Florence Park continued to be developed with a huge amount of community sponsorship and engagement. Each chaplain gave a few words of blessing in the terms of the different faiths involved.
Annie Davy, strategic coordinator said:
“It was like a mini United Nations here in Florence Park! We are so grateful to Monawar for bringing new guests here and honouring us on this occasion. The tree will welcome people for many decades to come! We are hugely grateful also to our many community partners – particularly to Kate Jury (Oxford Garden Partners) and Laura Burt (Garden Designer) for their guidance of The NaturEscape development, to our many volunteers and sponsors, to Oxford Community Action kitchen for cooking such great food and of course to Oxford City Council for taking such good care of this beautiful park.”
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council said:
“I was delighted to attend this lovely occasion at the wonderful Flo’s. I hope that the trees that we planted have survived Storm Eunice! As a city, we are planning a lot of planting in this the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, with a particular focus on where we can really make a difference with biodiversity. Over the last 10 years the city council has planted thousands of trees across the city but we know we need to do more to improve our city’s biodiversity and across all of our communities.”
Flo’s – The Place in the Park is located in Florence Park, Rymers Lane, Oxford OX4 3JZ