International Brigades annual commemoration 1st July

International Brigades memorial, Jubilee Gardens

There was a strong international flavour to the International Brigades Memorial Trust’s annual commemoration on 1st July at the International Brigade memorial in Jubilee Gardens. This years event marked the 85th anniversary of the Battle of the Ebro, July to November 1938.

International Brigades commemoration event in Jubilee Gardens. From left: Nancy Wallach from ALBA (USA), IBMT President Marlene Sidaway, and Claude Desmazure from ACER (France) © 2023 Andrew Wiard

Guest speakers included Nancy Wallach, daughter of Lincoln Brigader Hy Wallach and board member of the New York-based Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), and Claude Desmazure, representative of the Paris-based ACER (Les Amis des Combattants en Espagne Républicaine).

More than 200 people gathered in Jubilee Gardens for the IBMT event where there was a minutes silence, wreaths were laid and the event closed with the singing of ‘The Internationale’.

View a slideshow of photos taken by Andrew Wiard, and visit the IMBT website for more information about the International Brigades and the memorial in Jubilee Gardens.

Jubilee Gardens Summer Party

On a beautiful evening on 14 June, the Jubilee Gardens Trust held a summer garden party for local residents, businesses and supporters to highlight the work of the Trust, our exciting future developments and how to get involved in this vitally important green space at the heart of our South Bank community.

The Trustees were joined by His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, Florence Eshalomi MP, Leader of Lambeth Council Cllr Claire Holland, HM Deputy Lieutenant for Lambeth Christopher Wellbelove and Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Sarbaz Barznji as well as local residents and business representatives from the South Bank and Waterloo area.

Ted Inman, Chair of the Jubilee Gardens Trust opened the event, explaining the history of the site which was first opened as a park in 1977 by Queen Elizabeth II and re-landscaped in 2012 when the Queen visited again. Ted also talked about some of the upcoming projects to improve the Gardens including the much-anticipated expansion which will see the area increase by 40%.

Florence Eshalomi, Cllr Holland and The Duke of Gloucester all gave short speeches. They thanked the Trustees and grounds team for managing and maintaining such a vital, busy area and highlighted the importance of urban green spaces such as Jubilee Gardens.

A delicious lemon chiffon cake in the design of Jubilee Gardens, generously donated by Konditor, and music by Sandra and Paul added the finishing touches to a glorious warm sunny evening.

If you’d like to find out more about our future plans, sign up to our newsletter and we will make sure you are the first to know.

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Spring newsletter 2023

Computer generated image of proposed planting scheme for Jubilee Gardens with tiered planting adding height and interest.

Our spring newsletter 2023 is live with news about our tree management approach and trees planted and removed recently, plans for our playground to be extended, updates on safety and security in the Gardens as well as our plans to enhance biodiversity.

Plus, save the date for our Summer Garden party on 14th June.

And to receive future newsletter emails directly to your inbox, sign up here.

New trees planted

Today we have planted three new trees in Jubilee Gardens.

The three trees we have planted are Field Maple Queen Elizabeth, also called Acer campestre ‘Evelyn’, a vigorous and compact deciduous tree with leaves which turn butter yellow in the autumn. It will tolerate drought and air pollution so is ideal for our city position, plus it’s small flowers are good for bees and insects.

Our new trees have been registered with the Queen’s Green Canopy, a nationwide initiative originally created to mark the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 creating a living legacy in Her Majesty’s name. This has been extended to the end of March 2023 to give people the opportunity to plant trees in memoriam to honour Her Majesty. An interactive map shows planting projects across the United Kingdom and will include the three Jubilee Gardens Field Maple Queen Elizabeth trees shortly.

Read more about the other tree species in Jubilee Gardens here.

Removal of trees

Tree being cut down in Jubilee Gardens

Today saw the removal of 13 trees from Jubilee Gardens. While it is always sad to lose trees there are good reasons for taking this action which will benefit the remaining trees and the Gardens in the long term.

When Jubilee Gardens was re-landscaped in 2012 a large number of trees – 94 in total were planted with the expectation that some would fail or need to be thinned over the years. Normally you would expect to lose or remove around 30% of new trees. This is much the same principle as when growing carrots on an allotment – you always sow more seeds knowing some will get eaten by slugs, some will be washed away or pick up a disease and others will hit rocks and not grow properly. As the carrots grow you thin out the smaller, weaker seedlings to allow room for the others to grow big and strong.

Our plan was always to take this action between 10 and 14 years after planting so we and have been monitoring our trees regularly over the years to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the condition of all trees on the site.

Following an unexpected tree failure all the trees were the subject of a major audit last year, including a health assessment, consideration of the need for thinning, and, in the case of 70 of them, a full root survey. As a result, 13 trees in poorer condition or of lesser amenity value were identified for removal as part of our long-term tree management plan. Trees that were removed today suffered from a variety of issues from leaf chlorosis and die back to stunted growth and impaired structures which could become unsafe. In many cases they were impeding the growth of other, more viable, trees.

We still have more work to do, which includes transplanting a small number of existing trees to give others more room. And the good news is that we will be planting three Field Maple Queen Elizabeth trees in the coming weeks which will be registered with the Queen’s Green Canopy Scheme launched for last year’s Jubilee.

To augment our tree care and provide interest and information for visitors we are also planning to label all the trees in the Gardens with QR codes to link them back to full species and background information on the Trust’s website.

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