Date: 19 January 2001
Originally published in: Manchester Evening News (UK)
Written by: Gary Skentelbery
Former pop star Kim Wilde was on hand to ensure the safe arrival of the largest ever tree to be transplanted. The giant London Plane, which measures 60 ft has been transported from Belgium to be centre piece of a prestigious housing development at Warrington, at an estimated cost of £10,000.
It will replace a landmark water tower at the former Winwick Hospital, which was demolished last year.
The former pop star, who now has a keen interest in horticulture after shelving her pop career to bring up a young family, followed the tree on its journey from a Belgian nursery to Warrington, which included a ferry crossing on the back of a special trailer.
Kim, who was voted Britain’s best female singer at the ‘Brit Awards’ in 1983 is set to host BBC’s ‘Garden invaders’ in the spring, after previously completing a horticultural course.
“It should be an awesome sight once it is planted”, said Kim, who is helping supervise the transplant with landscape director David Fountain. David chose the tree, which was not a difficult task, as it was the largest in the nursery!
“The London Plane is a gorgeous tree,” added Kim, who finds an interest in horticulture less stressful than her pop career which yielded 10 albums and more than 30 singles.
“The tree is not only beautiful but it is good for the environment, soaking up pollution. It is a very strong tree and still has a considerable way to grow.
“It is a good all rounder”, she added.
The tree will be planted on Monday during a lengthy three hour operation using a giant crane.
Once planted it will be verified for the Guinness Book of Records. The existing record was set in 1997 when a 100-year-old 52ft horse chestnut was transplanted.
The giant Plane tree is expected to live for at least 250 years and could reach 150ft by the time it is fully grown.