A beautiful new English Oak tree has been planted in the garden of one of our Junior Boarding Houses.

Members of our pupil-led Eco Committee at King’s Ely Junior joined forces with our Principal, John Attwater; our Grounds and Gardens Manager, Will Temple; our Chief Operating Officer, Mark Hart; and Sales Executive and Planting Consultant at Barcham Trees, David Johnson, to plant the five-year-old Quercus robur in the Priory House garden.

The tree has very kindly been donated to us by our friends at Barcham Trees, who are located nearby. One member of our school community who is especially pleased with its arrival is Year 13 student, Barclay Greenway, who is a keen botanist and environmentalist.

On a plaque positioned beside the tree, Barclay writes: “Supporting 2,300 different species, with 326 completely dependent on Oak trees for their survival, the Oak is a central backbone of the UK ecosystem. Their distinctive acorns are a key food source for woodpeckers, jays, deer, badgers, and squirrels in preparation for the winter months. Their leaves are food for dozens of caterpillar species, including those of rare species, like the Purple Hairstreak Butterfly. Even when their leaves fall, they break down into a soft and rich humus that provides a safe haven for over-wintering invertebrates.”

The English Oak is also said to be one of King Charles III’s favourite trees, so we are delighted to have been able to plant this specimen shortly after his Coronation. King Charles is known to perform a charming ritual during tree planting. He ‘shakes hands’ with every tree he plants, giving a branch a gentle shake in order to wish it well. We gave this a try too so, fingers crossed, our new English Oak will thrive!

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