Green fingered children help with £1 million park restoration

Pupils from four Wimbledon primary schools will each plant a tree in South Park Gardens from the 12-15 January as part of the park’s £1 million restoration project.

Pupils from Holy Trinity, Pelham, St Mary’s and The Priory will be planting a variety of trees including silver maple (Acer saccharinum), purple plum (Prunus cerasifera (nigra)), Japanese crab apple (Malus floribunda) and Hupeh crab apple (Malus hupehensis). Commemorative plaques showing the schools’ names will be placed at the base of each tree.

South Park Gardens are currently closed for refurbishment following a successful bid last year for a £1 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund (BIG) grant. Local landscape architects, Hortech, started work on the site in November. The Gardens are due to open again to the public in June 2009.

The cash injection from HLF and BIG will transform the gardens, and improvements include the reinstatement of the former bandstand area as a flexible performance space, restoration of the original drinking fountain as a water feature and re-planting trees and shrubs to the original design. There will also be a brand new mini beast sanctuary designed to attract beetles, butterflies and other insects.

Merton Council’s Cabinet member for the environment, Councillor David Simpson said: “It is wonderful to see this much loved park being restored so that families can continue to enjoy one of Merton’s great open spaces. Involving local children in the restoration project means that the youngsters will be able to see the trees they plant become established and grow over the coming years, so promoting a sense of pride in their local environment. The park and areas like the mini beast sanctuary will be invaluable resources for our local schools in the future.”

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors
Tree planting timetable:

Monday 12 January:
School: Holy Trinity Primary School
Tree: silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
Time: 1.30pm

Tuesday 13 January
School: St Mary’s Catholic Primary School
Tree: Purple plum (Prunus cerasifera (nigra))
Time: 1.45pm

Wednesday 14 January
School: The Priory C of E Primary School
Tree: Japanese crab apple (Malus floribunda)
Time: tbc

Thursday 15 January
School: Eco Gardening Group from Pelham Primary School
Tree: Hupeh crab apple (Malus hupehensis)
Time: 1.30pm