Enable Leisure and Culture team up across communities in creating new avenue of trees for King George’s Park thanks to generous gift from Japan
Enable Leisure and Culture and Wandsworth Borough Council have collaborated with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association of London Region, and the Sakura Cherry Tree Project in planting an attractive new feature in the form of an avenue of soon-to-be blossoming cherry trees for King George’s Park. The double row of Cherry trees approximately 1.5 metres in height will run from Burr Rd across the Park to the river Wandle near the Henry Prince estate.
The saplings have been gifted to the borough by the Sakura Cherry Tree Project – an initiative promoting friendship between Japan and the UK and part of a legacy project celebrating the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2020. The trees are three varieties known as Beni-Yutaka, Tai-Haku, and Somei-yedoensis, which have been chosen for their variation in colour, timing, and historical significance. Tai-Haku is a large, single white blossom variety, which became extinct in Japan but thrives there now thanks to its reintroduction by Britain’s Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram in 1932.
Farina Qureshi, president of the London Region Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association along with 12 representatives from the Mosque East Community, four from the Wandsworth (Henry Prince) Community and two from the Putney Community attended the occasion on the 7th and 8h December to undertake the planting of the trees that have been kindly donated to the borough of Wandsworth.
Ahmadiyya is the youngest Muslim community in the world, founded in 1889, and the Worldwide Women’s Muslim Association is about to mark its centenary of 100 years in October 2022. To celebrate and commemorate, the UK community is planting 100,000 trees in the UK. The Association approached Enable to help them reach their target and plant in their own local area; a truly grass roots initiative. Farina tells us, ‘The climate needs more trees, we all agree on that, we are passionate about the climate our religion teaches us to take care of our environment, it is written into our faith.’
By end of 2022-23 the ladies plan to make their target; sadly due to the pandemic they have missed a few seasons, so it’s all hands on deck this Winter with a long way to go! The Ahmadiyya Women’s group have been enthusiastically planting in recent days and weeks with various group working in in Enfield Chase and Hainault Forest Country Park with the Woodland Trust before digging their shovels into their local turf in King George’s Park.
Within 6 months the blossoms should be blooming; an exciting prospect for Farina who says, ‘We are planning picnics as soon as time allows, weather and current restrictions permitting!’
The Enable planting was attended by Cllr Steffi Sutters, Council Leader Ravi Govindia and Enable’s expert Parks and Trees Team.
Pat Langley, the Arboricultural Manager of Enable who is leading on the planting project says:
“We were very impressed by the Ahmadiyya member’s expertise, planting skills and knowledge and were so pleased that they were put to good use in one of our main parks. We will be watering the Cherries in the near future so they get the best chance of a good start in life.”
The collaborating groups are actively looking at other park sites where Enable are planting this winter to see if they can team up again.
Yasumasa Nagamine, Japanese Ambassador to the UK added: “Just like our relationship, these trees will grow stronger as they mature and, each year when they blossom, I hope they bring joy to people across the UK and remind them of the deep friendship between our two nations and peoples.“
For more information about the scheme visit https://japanuksakura.org/