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Work starts on cherry blossom avenue and Oriental garden

The first tree has been planted in a ‘cherry blossom avenue’ being created at Tonbridge School.

James Priory, the Headmaster, helped plant a Prunus ‘Sunset Boulevard’ tree in the land outside the Old Judde building, home to the Modern Languages Department, on Tuesday 28 January.

A dozen more trees are now being added to this area, and the school’s gardeners will also create an Oriental garden complete with bamboo, rhododendrons, a tree peony and plum trees. The cherry trees are expected to produce their first blossom this spring, creating a scenic walkway at the front of the school.

Launched to coincide with Chinese New Year, the project owes much to the vision of Tonbridge School teacher Xiang Yu. “I hope the new area will become a very special place for all, and I think the Chinese boys here will take this area to their hearts. It may make them feel that little bit closer to home, especially at times such as Chinese New Year,” she said. 

“In a very short time this will become a picturesque and beautiful garden, especially once the trees blossom, and its highly visible position near the High Street means that everyone from the community will be able to enjoy this area.”

The new trees have been funded in part by Chinese parents who have supported this new scheme, with additional funding coming from the Tonbridge School Foundation. 

Xiang added: “It is very exciting seeing what started as a small suggestion for some cherry blossom trees becoming a reality. I’m grateful for the kind donations from the parents and for the huge support from the school, including the Headmaster, our gardening team and the Tonbridge Society. This garden will also be a legacy that I hope will benefit future generations.” 

Later in the year there will be an event to officially open the cherry tree avenue and Oriental garden, and to thank all those who have supported the project with donations. 

Pictured: James Priory plants the first Prunus ‘Sunset Boulevard’, with the help (above) of Xiang Yu and the school's gardening team.