Royal Visit To Chiswick House Gardens

Duke of Kent marks planting of Jubilee tree and meets volunteers

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The Duke of Kent  visited Chiswick House Gardens today (Wednesday July 18) to mark the planting of  a Black Poplar tree commemorating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the Borough of Hounslow, Paul Kennerley, the Mayor of Hounslow, Cllr Pritam Grewel, the leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr. Jagdish Sharma and other dignatories attended, along with representatives of English Heritage and Chiswick House and Gardens Trust.

The work done by local volunteers in the House and also in the Gardens, was also a theme of the occasion and the Duke met several groups and chatted about the difficulties of gardening during this summer’s inclement weather.

(L-R) Sarah Finch-Crisp, HRH Duke of Kent, the Mayor and Mayoress of Hounslow and the Deputy-Lieutenant of Hounslow

The Duke was greeted on arrival by Sarah Finch-Crisp, Director of the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust before being taken to view the tree which was planted by the water’s edge at the Southern Pool.

Volunteers and Trust representatives meet the Duke

All the boroughs of Greater London received a Black Poplar tree in this Jubilee Year and Chiswick House Gardens was the chosen site for the London Borough of Hounslow.

The Mayor of Hounslow Cllr. Pritam Grewel said

“It was a great pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness to Chiswick House Gardens, as we are very proud of all that has been achieved here through partnership work between the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, English Heritage and the Council.”

The Duke walked around the Gardens and met volunteers

The Black Poplar (Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia), a large native tree, used to flourish across the whole of England but is now rare. Prior to 1850 the trees were heavily involved in British industry. It is hoped that the tree planted at Chiswick House will grow to forty feet.

The Duke’s visit was made all the more memorable as it was his father Prince George who opened the gardens to the public in July 1929.

The Director of Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, Sarah Finch-Crisp presented the Duke with a facsimile copy of the Brentford and Chiswick Times illustrated report of that earlier occasion.

She said “We were delighted to be included in his Royal Highness’s visit to the borough and to share this important occasion with our partners at the London Borough of Hounslow. The Duke took time to talk with many of our wonderful volunteers and was clearly interested in the history of Chiswick House and Gardens and recent restoration.”

The Duke meets members of English Heritage

The Queen has recognised the importance of the Black Poplar, now an endangered species, by planting saplings on many of her estates and in the Royal Parks. Taking up the baton the Lord – Lieutenant of London nurtured a plan to provide Black Poplars to every London borough to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Black Poplar is naturally fire resistant and generally resilient, and the timber has been found in buildings, carts and wagons, scaffolding, farm equipment and matches. Black poplar wood has also been identified in floorboards and arrows on the Mary Rose and in First World War rifle butts. The tree appears prominently in John Constable’s famous 1821 painting, the Hay Wain.

July 18, 2012