Buckingham Palace sculpture celebrates ‘superhero’ trees
A towering, living Tree Of Trees sculpture in front of Buckingham Palace acts as a beacon sending an “eternal message” that trees are the “superheroes” of our cities, the designer said.
The last branches of the 69ft (21m) tall Platinum Jubilee centerpiece, comprising 350 trees grown in Britain, were filled in on Tuesday morning, before the last piece of trunk was put into place in the ‘afternoon.
Junior foresters visited the Queen’s home in London to help complete the creation by planting a batch of 6ft (1.8m) saplings in aluminum pots engraved with the monarch’s cipher.
The pots were added to repurposed steel branches and the youngsters also helped weave LED lights through the saplings, with the structure serving as the main beacon during Jubilee commemorations.
Created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, it reflects the planting of over one million Jubilee trees as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative to mark 70 years of the monarch’s reign.
Heatherwick revealed that the Queen is a fan of the giant creation, which rises above her official residence on the front left side, outside the palace railings.
“The Queen has approved the plans. She got a big thumbs up,” he said.
Heatherwick added: “This sculpture acts as a beacon sending a simple and everlasting message that trees are the superheroes of our towns and cities and matter much more in our lives than we realize.”
A team of hundreds of welders, arborists, engineers and fabricators worked on the project, which Heatherwick revealed she designed in just a week.
He added: “We need to remember how much trees humanize the world around us and they cannot be taken for granted.
“The tree twists and spirals, symbolically spraying an array of 350 baby trees to their final homes across the country – a symbol of the much larger planting initiative.”
After the Jubilee weekend, the trees in their pots will be donated to community groups and selected individuals to celebrate their work and inspire the next generation of tree planters.
The Tree of Trees will be lit by a senior royal using the 3,500 lights in an evening ceremony at the palace on the first evening of the bank holiday weekend as the focal point of a chain of 2,800 beacons lit across the world in honor of the Queen.
Young trees used in the exhibit include alders, field maples, hazels, hornbeams, larches, mountain ash, silver birches, small-leaved lindens and whitebeams.
Riggers moved up and down the shaft on safety ropes feeding the cables through the metal pipes.
The last of the seven sections, which includes 56 pots, will be craned into place later Tuesday.
Sir Nicholas Bacon, President of Queen’s Green Canopy, said: “The Tree Of Trees offers a message of hope, regeneration and celebration to people and communities around the world.
“I’m thrilled with how everyone came together across our country to ‘Plant a Tree for Jubilee’.”
The sculpture is the height of three giraffes, and children from Coppice Primary School in Chigwell and William Torbitt Primary School in Ilford, Essex, were told about the tree’s bespoke watering system which works at through pipes going directly into each pot.
The youngsters would pour compost into a pot and scoop out the excess with their hands before placing a sapling inside.
David Solomon, 10, from Coppice Primary, who helped with the planting, said of the sculpture: “I didn’t expect it to be so tall. It’s unique.
“I am delighted to be here just opposite Buckingham Palace to plant trees for the Queen.”
The reused steel for the metal tubes of the structure came from Cleveland Steel in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, with much of it from an oil rig and some of spare material at industrial facilities.
The trees were grown from seed by Barcham’s Nursery in Ely, Cambridgeshire, the sculpture was made and installed in Hove, and the pots were turned and made in Halifax.
Heatherwick said of the hundreds of saplings grown from seed: “We had to have spares because there were deer munching different – funny British problems.
“There was a waste of about 10% thanks to the deer.”
The trees will be spread evenly across the UK after being carefully stored over the summer before the start of the planting season in October.