Derby Arboretum Magnolia
This is one of The Tree Council’s 60 educational tree planting schemes with children that
were inspired by the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Each tree, provided by The Tree
Council, was chosen and planted by volunteers in the community.
We chose a Magnolia kobus for Derby Arboretum because the area selected for the planting was dedicated to magnolias as part of the original 19th-century design by John Claudius Loudon, who laid out the trees in family groups. We are extending the magnolia collection to reflect Loudon’s original design.
We invited Derby’s Mayor, Councillor Lisa Higginbottom, to plant the Diamond Jubilee magnolia on 25th March 2013 with pupils from St James School, Rose Hill (which shares a boundary with the Arboretum).
In advance of the planting, Derby Tree Wardens had a session with the children to work through information on how to choose, plant and look after trees and also to talk about the history and importance of the arboretum over the last 173 years.
The arboretum was England’s first public park and is home to over 200 trees. It was given in 1840 to the Town Council of Derby by Joseph Strutt – a local cotton mill owner and the first mayor of the Reformed Borough of Derby – to provide people with a place for exercise and recreation in what was then a rapidly growing town.
Both he and Loudon, an influential writer on horticulture and garden design in the early 1800s, also wanted it to be a place where people could have the opportunity to improve their minds. It was officially opened on 17th September 1840, and the Town Council marked the occasion with a three-day public holiday.
The celebrations attracted over 20,000 visitors and included a procession by the town’s dignitaries, music, tea and dancing in the park, a hot-air balloon launch and a firework display.
Today, the park has unique heritage value. It attracts national and international visitors, and is included in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens as a Grade II* listed landscape. It has been refurbished with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Derby Council.
Over £5 million was invested to restore buildings and provide new facilities for toddlers and older children. Work was completed in 2005. After a lengthy local campaign, a new bronze replica of the Florentine Boar statue, produced at cost by local engineer Alex Paxton, was finally put in place that November.
Photographs - top to bottom:
- 1. Councillor Lisa Higginbottom, Mayor of Derby, with Adam Khan, planting the Magnolia kobus.
- 2. Pupils from St James Federation School do their bit.
- 3. The school team with Arboretum Manager Michael McNaught, the Mayor, and Park Ranger Craig Spacy.
- 4. The Arboretum fountain, with statue of Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls-Royce.
- 5. Historic view of Derby Arboretum.
- 6. Children admire a crown created from crocus bulbs in England’s first public park.