Coronation Trees 👑

King Charles and Tree - Banner

When King George VI ascended to the throne in 1937, a tree planting program stretched beyond Great Britain, to every outpost of the Commonwealth and the wider British Empire.  A similar program took place in 1953, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This tradition has continued as a way to mark Royal coronations and other significant milestones in history throughout the world Perhaps a way of laying down a marker that serves to connect us to ‘where were we when it happened’?  Whatever the reason, planting trees to mark the coronation of King Charles III is most certainly the thing to do.

We’ve been busy supplying a number of clients, governing bodies and organizations with trees for the coronation. These are the most popular choices:

TAXODIUM distichum - Swamp Cypress

TAXODIUM distichum 45lt - April
TAXODIUM distichum - Foliage - April

With its conical shaped crown, the swamp cypress remains upstanding and upright, so is a fitting choice to mark Royal events.  The needle-like foliage is rich and green in summer, before turning crimson in Autumn and then falling. Noted examples of this tree feature inside the inner circle at Regent’s Park in London, next to Queen Mary’s Garden Lakes.  Deciduous, reaching 8m+.

TAXODIUM distichum - Queenstown Gardens, June

Taxodium distichum glowing in the morning sunlight – Queenstown Botanic Gardens

ACER platanoides 'Nigrum' - Purple Norway Maple

ACER platanoides Nigrum - Remarkables Park, Frankton
ACER platanoides Nigrum - March

Possibly chosen because of the regal purple coloured leaves, the Purple Norway Maple is well suited to avenue and group plantings, or even for use as a specimen. This Scandinavian native is large and impressive. Yellow flowers stand in beautiful contrast to new leaves as they emerge. Those palmate 5 lobed leaves are a delicious shade of that regal purple, before bronzing in Autumn.  Deciduous, it will reach 6 x 4m when mature.

Above left: Semi-mature Acer ‘Nigrum’ at Remarkables Park, Queenstown

PODOCARPUS totara 'Aurea' - Golden Native Totara

PODOCARPUS totara Aurea 160lt - January
PODOCARPUS totara 'Aurea' - Foliage - May

There will be plenty of gold on display at the coronation and on the dense bushy habit of this native.  It’s frequently used in hedging, where the colour stands in wonderful contrast to the green grass or earth beneath it.  Even the lime green colour of the fresher foliage adds something to a setting.  So yes, it is quite suited to a ceremonial planting.  This hardy NZ Native evergreen will grow to approx 5-6m x 3m.

PRUMNOPITYS taxifolia - NZ Native Matai

PRUMNOPITYS ferruginea - Anderson Park, Invercargill, May

A unique bushy native, it seems a rather interesting choice of plant for a Royal coronation upon first glance.  But maybe the reason why it has been chosen?  The bushy nature is not regal, the fine silver-green foliage is not golden, and the orange tangled-like branching lacks any sort of decorum.  It’s distinctly Kiwi and there’s the appeal.  It’s a fine choice precisely because it says ‘this is us and we mark the occasion in a kiwi way’.  Semi-evergreen, grows to 8 x 5m.

NOTHOFAGUS menziesii - NZ Native Silver Beech

NOTHOFAGUS menziesii - trunk - December
NOTHOFAGUS menziesii 200lt - March

A tree that ages so very well – so much like a King?. For the first 15 years or so, the bark is dark and black, with bands of white lenticels showing as horizontal lines. The leaves are small and glossy. The deep green is refreshed in spring with an almost silvery shimmering. Their upright structure is at home in alpine environments, so is as hardy as you’d expect. Ideal as a specimen planting or in groups, a mature version will reach 5 x 3m

NOTHOFAGUS menziesii - Queens Park, Invercargill, February

Mature specimen of the native Silver Beech – Queens Park Gardens, Invercargill