A total of 44 rare and endangered trees has been planted in order to restock the Arboretum. The Lieutenant-Governor planted the first tree in December 2014 in the Australasian Zone. The other trees planted this Spring were supplied by a Eucalyptus specialist John Purse, the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh & Bedgebury Pinetum in Kent. Two of the Eucalyptus species were a first introduction to Britain & one was a first introduction to Europe.
A number of the 10 trees planted in the Conifer Zone were rare varieties of Juniper. One species only occurs on one mountain range in Cuba, there being less than 50 existing mature trees growing in the wild.
In the American Zone 3 trees were planted including a variety the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus) and another rare conifer. Now Spring has arrived the wild flower meadow bordering the main ride is emerging from its dormant season & has had one cut.
A new path has been created in the Birch Zone which provides a circular clockwise walk. Starting at the lower area the path runs and up the slope to the last Birch specimen, returning via the path that runs parallel to the stream. The Social Security Department’s Back to Work initiative carried out the work and has made the area more accessible. Two species of birch were planted including a Cherry Birch which originates from the eastern USA.
Cutting back of the bramble in the America Oak Zone has begun as has the work to identify the various species of oak. As most were planted as grafted trees, mainly with a Red Oak root stock, what we appear to have is a collection of Quercus rubra as the upper part or scion died off.
The Wing Nut, Walnut and Hickory Zone exhibited a great display of snow drops this Spring after a stand of sycamores was cleared. The piles of brush wood and lumber have nearly all be moved to the perimeter in order to create new habitat in the form of “dead hedges” where insects, birds and mammals will make new homes. There is always a great display of ferns and other seasonal plants so it is planned to create new signs to help with their identification.
Work has begun clearing space around the trees in the Ash Zone as the surrounding willow, sycamores and elms continue to grow apace, crowding out the specimen trees.
The Back to Work group dug out and re-defined the steam which had silted up in the Japanese Zone. A volunteer professional tree surgeon has also cleared a lot of ash and willow limbs from around the planted trees. A total of 6 trees was also planted including a replacement Table Dog Wood.
The Elm Trial Zone continues to develop apart from one tree that has suffered from die back in its crown. It does not appear to be Dutch Elm Disease but the cause of the decline has yet to be determined.
The clearing of the slope in the Pine Zone is ongoing. A PhD student is studying distribution and abundance slowworms and grass snakes. He has put down some metal and bitumen refugia to attract them and this area should be ideal due to it south facing aspect and sheltered nature.
The Mixed Oak Zone has undergone extensive clearing of bramble and sycamore seedlings. There is scope to create some planting pockets by opening up the canopy at the expense of poorly shaped evergreen oaks and sycamores.
- The planting of the final tree in the Arboretum this year by Chris Ambler (CEO of Jersey Electricity) was followed by a wonderful event. Two members of the Jersey Bat Group carried out a conducted walk and loaned out bat detectors for the evening. The main ride down to the picnic area was illuminated with over 300 night lights in jars which created a magical effect. Solar lights and torches were used to light up certain trees which accentuated their form and imposing sizes. As a finale, there was a fire-dance show including juggling and fire breathing linked to synchronised live music. This event is to be run again as it was deemed a great success by the 40 people who attended.
- A partnership has been built up with the Jersey Bat Group. They provided expertise and bat boxes (some made at the Prison) that we put up in selected trees. This is a 5 year study to create a baseline survey to see what species of bat are present and how stable their populations are as they are considered a good indicator as to the health of our environment.
- With the arrival of Spring some selective ground clearance has begun. Areas of emerging wild flowers and ferns are being left to flourish.
- The verification of the specimens is ongoing zone by zone and more labels are to be commissioned. Flower samples are to be sent to the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh for examination by a botanist.
- Specialised tree surgery, formative pruning and dead wooding will be continued thanks to our volunteer.
- The planting of the Chinese Zone is being contemplated as a number of potential sponsors have offered financial and practical assistance.
- The re-design and updating of the current Zone interpretation boards and main information board is in progress.
- A leaflet including a map, highlights of trees in each zone and a history of the Arboretum is currently being drawn up.
- The direction signs advising of the start & end of the zones are now in place. CE 21.04.15