In a gale force south westerly on the 1st March at 2.00pm, Hon. Ald. Francis Tonks, past Mayor of Brighton and present President of the Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission, (also resident of the Kemp Town Estate) carried out the ceremonial planting of a 10 year old pine tree in the Kemp Town Enclosure. He commented “Despite the weather, it’s a pleasure to be here today, meeting the excellent gardeners who have made this possible, and planting this beautiful fir tree. I trust it will grow strong and provide a haven for wildlife for many years to come. The city needs its green lungs.”
Also present from the official party were his wife, Mrs Jean Tonks, Jeremy Moulsdale, Head Gardener of the Enclosure and Roger Amerena, Heritage Commissioner of the Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission.
The tree, a sea and wind resistant “Pinus Thunbergii”, was grown from seed by Heritage Commission member Nigel Furness on the flat roof of his kitchen extension until too large when Nigel was happy to donate it the Kemp Town Enclosure, Lewes Crescent Garden. BHHC member, Graham Bedford, kindly assisted with transport from Hove to Kemp Town.
This event marks another step in the BHHC’s policy of promoting civic tree planting. For the Queen’s Jubilee £250 was given to the Rottingdean Preservation Society for a tree at the Grange, a further £250 was given to Hove Civic Society, Heritage Commission affiliates for street tree planting in York Avenue area.
Brighton and Hove is also one of the last refuges of the Dutch Elm tree in Britain, partly thanks to the Downs at the rear and the English channel to the south acting as barriers to the national blight of Dutch Elm disease. The Commission has therefore also been working closely with Neil Brothers and his arboriculture team at BHCC to further the scheme of planting new disease resistant elms in Montpelier. Elms were planted last autumn in Montpelier Road, Windlesham Avenue, Windlesham Road and Montpelier Villas. In 2014 a “Sorbus” was placed in Russell Square, thus completing the symmetrical planting pattern in that enclosure. Following planting during the hot summers Commission members water the young trees to make sure they survive, as can be seen from the eighteen planted in Montpelier Road.