|Our Environment: Issue 15 Winter 1998|
Trees An Important Part Of Our History
Of the 17 trees featuring on the City Plan's list of heritage trees, seven grow in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
One of the trees, known as the Albert Edward Oak, was the first tree planted in the gardens. It was also one of four acorns sent to New Zealand by Queen Victoria to be planted as memorial trees to commemorate the death of her husband Albert.
The acorns were from the King's oak in Boscabel Wood, near Wolverhampton, where King Charles II hid from the Roundheads during the English Civil War.
They were propagated after being sent to the Reverend Richard Taylor of the Putiki Mission station near Wanganui in 1861. Ready for planting two years later, one of the seedlings was sent to Christchurch.
The 26 metre Albert Edward Oak, growing near the Avon River and the south west corner of the Archery Lawn, has a crown diameter of 32 metres. Showing signs of stress because of breathing difficulties through its roots, the tree is being carefully monitored by gardens' staff. Emergency treatment has included mulching and loosening the soil around the tree.
The oak is included in the gardens' Historic and Notable Tree Walk, which is described in a brochure available at the Information Centre.
Another imposing oak with an interesting history was planted at 90 Ensors Rd in 1917 by Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
His visit to the site of the former Girls' Training School, now owned by Christchurch Polytechnic, followed Shackleton's epic battle for survival after his ship the Endurance was crushed by ice and sank in the Weddell Sea. Shackleton had earlier given a lecture to aid the school's building fund.
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