Staff from Quex Park Estates, the Open Spaces team at Thanet council and the Isle of Thanet Tree and Woodland Initiative have ‘adopted’ 14 cherry trees in Dane Park for the Summer.
Sixteen trees were planted under an initiative by the Colourful Margate group which crowfunded in 2018 for five and then raised money for a further 11 later the same year.
The scheme for trees and wood carvings at the park had 60 sponsors raising more than £3000 in three months, including a donation by Cllr Barry Lewis of £1,000 from his county council grant.
During the lockdown there had been difficulties watering the trees and sadly two have died, one due to vandalism last year.
Residents and volunteers had carried water to the park last week attempting to water the trees each day and an appeal for water guardians was put out on facebook sites including Thanet Tress and Friends of Cliftonville Coastline.
Then Quex Estates stepped in yesterday (May 27), bringing a 10,000 litre water bowser to the park.
A Thanet council spokesperson said the Open Spaces will carry out watering on Mondays and Quex Estate and ITTWI will undertake watering on Thursdays.
Stephanie Nsom, who launched the cherry tree project, said: “We want to thank the team from Quex Park Estates for their commitment to water our cherry trees in Dane Park throughout the Summer months, especially those that were entirely funded by the community.
“We also thank the Open Space Team from TDC who have confirmed to continue their support for the maintenance of those first cherry trees in the park.
“It was difficult when we started the cherry tree project in 2018 to fundraise and get broad support, but now it is heart-warming to see more and more residents stepping up and caring about the trees and Dane Park. I am excited about my vision from 2018 of creating a cherry blossom destination in Margate becoming a reality; together with many partners and supporters.”
Peter Hasted, from ITTWI, was initially approached with an offer to help maintain the trees, alongside 100 belonging to ITTWI including those recently planted at Dane Valley Green.
He said: “Watering over the last couple of weeks has become quite challenging, I have been inundated with enquiries and requests to water trees, probably due to so many people on furlough at the moment giving them more time to notice the trees.
“Having to contractually deliver over 32,000 litres every week is very time consuming when it takes just as long to fill the water tank as it does to empty it, so imagine my relief when I was approached by Anthony Ellis, a contractor, who offered to help.
“Able to supply his time and a tractor he’s teaming up with David Whithead, the farm manager of Quex Park Estates, which has a 10,000 litre water bowser with the water being extracted from the farm’s bore-hole water supply.
“Between them they are able to deliver 10,000 litres of water per visit. Anthony was disappointed he wasn’t able to help with the initial plantings but really wanted to help ITTWI and the community.
“When he realised the ITTWI team was struggling with watering and he had the opportunity to help, he made a plan with Mr Whitehead who was ‘happy to be involved’ and got in contact.”
Anthony, David and Peter met in the park yesterday evening and, with Colourful Margate, community volunteers and dedicated tree planter and wildlife enthusiast Elliot Brown, worked to give all 114 trees a good drink.
Well done Stephanie & Colourful Margate and all the local volunteers who have given up their time to improve the Margate community.
That must be such a relief for those trees, but regular watering needs to be ongoing all through the summer months. Lets hope this continues so well done everybody concerned in the park. It is a shame though that the contractor working for KCC has not been watering all the new street trees that have gone in recently around Margate and Cliftonville, many of which look as if they have died or are about to die.
Lovely story and great news for the trees!
However it’s slightly factually inaccurate.
ITTWI weren’t watering trees – in fact they steadfastly refused to water when repeatedly asked to help on social media. We were told the only way they could help was if they were paid c£85 per tree per year!
Sad also to see no mention of the volunteers who watered those trees in all the heat of last week, some carrying 50litres of water around the park, every single day, desperately trying to help the trees survive. Of course it was not enough water, but when the young trees were getting NONE at all it obviously helped.
Thanks also should have been given to Thanet Trees and Friends of Cliftonville Coastline groups, amongst others, who publicised the urgent and dire need for locals to help to water and keep the trees alive whilst waiting and hoping that TDC would finally get their act together
Given the involvement of these groups, and the individual effort volunteered last week, once the alarm was raised, this really has been a community action to save the trees.
How wonderful now that those with the appropriate equipment are stepping up and doing what’s needed! Such good news that trees are being valued and finally cared for in Thanet, at Dane Park!
I would personally like to thank those we saw whilst out watering each day – to other volunteers watering, and members of the public passing by who cared enough to put themselves out, ask questions, and who promised help. That really was a great example of community in action!
Yes, I could add about the Thanet Trees and FoCC plea, thanks for reminding me. As for ITTWI, a member was there on the day and is involved as trees on Dane Valley Green are also part of the watering rota, I shall have to call Quex for clarity
It seems the ITTWI statement is not incorrect. Thanet council say “Peter Hasted (ITTWI) was involved in the discussions, TDC is doing the Colourful Margate Cherry Trees on Mondays, and ITTWI/Quex are doing them on Thursdays.”
ITTWI are not paid to water trees which are not part of their project. They certainly do not have unlimited staff or resources, and work extremely hard from what I’ve seen. For the sake of fairness, this should surely be understood rather than sniping at people not responsible for other trees. Kinder society and all of that.
Always a risk planting so late in the planting season. I wouldnt plant later than December on free draining soil like thanet it’s such a gamble, might be ok on more clay soil. Still each to there own.
Surprised in this million pound project that irrigation isnt built into that price or planning !
It is true that any tree planting initiative does have to include funds for maintenance and watering in years to come. The ITTWI did just that with their tree planting in Thanet, but it seems that the other project didn’t. Something to think about for the future.
Surprised the farmers borehole licence allows for his water to be used of site. Perhaps the borehole licences are different for each application and use.
At the time the alarm was raised, people already watering the larger amount of trees were added to help water the Colourful Margate trees until TDC TDC organised themselves to take over. At that time they were not watering the Colourful Margate trees, as stated on social media by them.
It is irrelevant to comment about responsibility. The point was that trees were dying, some locals stepped in to help and others did not. It’s not about bearing responsibility, it was about saving the trees!
This all played out on Facebook for anybody to read.