Say Henry VIII and you'll think of 'Hampton Court' and 'off with their heads'. That was in Tudor times, but a bizarre modern-day re-enactment at the south-west London palace has prompted an outcry from gardeners.
The victims were a row of specimen silver birch trees, which got the chop after just one week in a display garden the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last month.
Landscaper David Dodd of The Outdoor Room said it was a “tragedy” when he saw the trees felled as The Quiet Mark Treehouse and Garden was dismantled after the show.
David, who built The One Show’s garden, slammed his rival exhibitor’s actions as “lazy and thoughtless” – saying the silver birches could have “looked great in a school or park”.
David told AG: “I was appalled to see a whole avenue of trees had a chainsaw put through them. We always donate trees to schools.
David’s pictures prompted an angry response on Twitter. Greenfingers Designs tweeted: “What an awful waste! Those trees cost a fortune. They could have served a community well.”
Garden designer Janine Pattison tweeted: “Shocking! I can’t believe the RHS allow that.”
And Ken Hartley described the scene as “wanton vandalism”.
The Quiet Mark Treehouse and Garden was designed by TV gardener David Domoney (circled), who presents ITV’s Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh. It was built by Frosts Landscapes.
Ken White, managing director of Frosts, said: “A large number of trees and shrubs were donated to charities. But half a dozen large trees were cut down because they would not have survived, due to stress. They would not have coped with being transported again. They are being used to make insect and beetle mounds. They have been recycled.”
Celebrity designer David Domoney told AG: “From this garden, the £350,000 tree house is due to be installed in a garden at Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice on the south coast. Up to 500 plants were given to [disability charity] Thrive. We are talking about six trees out of goodness knows how many trees.”
Anita Foy, a shows manager at the RHS, said the birch trees were “not viable stock”. She explained: “The landscaper decided they were unlikely to survive a relocation and decided to dispose of them.
“The RHS does not condone the felling of healthy trees or plants at its shows and works with exhibitors to ensure that plants and other elements are recycled and reused.”
Never miss an issue of Amateur Gardening! SUBSCRIBE TODAY AND SAVE UP TO 40% Click here to subscribe