Well, we might have joked about Marble Arch Mound making a comeback outside Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but something is actually coming to the palace this June. It’s been announced that a 70ft tree sculpture composed of 350 saplings from native British tree species will stand sentinel outside the palace over the bank holiday weekend, to mark the one million trees planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.
Giant trees don’t usually grown overnight, but this one is certainly sprouting up in quick time. The ‘Trees of Trees‘, as the sculpture is known, was designed by renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick, who can list Coal Drops Yard, the New Bus for London, and NYC’s Little Island amongst his designs. Timber branches will sprout from the upper boughs, each one containing aluminium pots with leafy saplings. Using 350 of them creates a tree made out of trees, which explains the name!
Standing tall across the four-day weekend, the ‘Tree of Trees’ marks the success of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, which aimed to plant one million trees ahead of the Platinum Jubilee. It’s a nod to both the need for more trees and greenery across the UK and earth, and the legacy of royal tree-planting (for instance, it’s estimated that Queen Elizabeth has planted over 1000 across her 70 years of royal visits). Once the structure comes down, the saplings will be donated to community groups and charities, to be used when the next tree-planting season commences.
The remainder of the sculpture is made from materials aimed to be as sustainable as possible; recycled steel will be used in construction, and other materials will be sourced from UK suppliers to keep emissions and energy use lower. The tree will be the focal point of celebrations at Buckingham Palace, where there are also plans to hold an open-air concert with over 10,000 people. That’s in addition to other Jubilee delights such as a garden of wildflowers at the Tower of London (which you can slide into!), a corgi café, and pubs staying open until 1am over the bank holiday weekend. It’s shaping up to be quite the weekend!
Also published on Medium.