Welcome to the tenth edition of the Wollemi Watch, a quarterly newsletter for Wollemi Pine enthusiasts everywhere.
The year 2006 marks not only the retail release of the Wollemi Pine in Australia but also in many other countries around the world. This edition provides an update on worldwide availability and lists contact details for those wishing to stay in touch with their own national/regional distributors. We report on one of the exciting new homes of our Collectors Edition trees – the First Generation Wollemi Pines which were sold at a Sotheby’s auction in October last year. Read about the Wollemi Pine being announced as one of Australia’s 50 most beautiful exports. We also profile Tony Kirkham, Kew’s head Aboriculturalist who is leading the Wollemi Pine UK trials. In closing, we pay tribute to the passing of a great Wollemi friend, David Given.
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Update on Worldwide Wollemi Pine Availability
On April 1, the Wollemi Pine will be available in over 160 selected garden centres in a range of sizes including a 40cm plant (150mm pot), a 60cm plant (200mm pot) and a 1.2m plant (430mm pot). Interested in purchasing a Wollemi Pine? Please contact us:
Web: www.wollemipine.com for details
Call: 1800 615 536 for a list of stockists
Order online: http://www.wollemipine.com/order.php
Mail/Phone order: 1800 WOLLIE (1800 965 543)
Demand has already been strong with over 20,000 advance orders since November, making it one of the most exciting new plant introductions for home gardeners.
To celebrate the retail launch, the Wollemi Pine will be showcased at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show from April 5-9. A grove of advanced Wollemi Pines will be featured in a landscape garden designed by Jim Fogarty’s Blue Design company. At a nearby stand, Blue Design will create a display that features a variety of ways that the Wollemi Pines can be used in home and garden settings.
To symbolize the national “release” of the Pines, the imposing metal cages guarding Wollemi Pines in botanic gardens across Australia will be removed. A new attraction called the “Wollemi Walk of Discovery”, boasting of a grove of 90 advanced Wollemi Pines, will be opened at Mount Annan Botanic Gardens in Sydney on March 31.
All Wollemi Pines sold in Australia will come with their own authentication certificate, label and care booklet. If purchased at a retail stockist, they will also be presented in a designer sleeve which, like their biodegradable pot and other packaging, is eco-friendly.
Search for a retail stockist in your area
Royalties from all sales will fund the conservation of the Wollemi Pine in the wild and other rare and threatened species.
Proven Winners Europe (PW Europe) will be distributing the Wollemi Pine in Europe and is expecting that plants will be available from mid 2006 at premium garden centers throughout Europe as well as via mail-order sales at special Wollemi Pine web sites in specific European countries. To date, a German web site has been set up and other language sites are in development.
Kernock Park Plants (part of the Proven Winners Europe group) based in Cornwall will be coordinating the distribution of the Wollemi Pine in the UK. The Pines are expected to be available from April/May 2006 and will return royalties to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
UK residents can place orders now.
Contact: Mark Taylor at email@example.com
We are conducting hardiness and export trials with a planned release for late 2006. Stay tuned to this newsletter for more updates.
Flower Auction Japan, the distributor for the Wollemi Pine in Japan will be releasing the Wollemi Pine in early Summer 2006. A range of activities are planned for the release including the display of the Pine at the 3rd International Tokyo Flower Expo (IFEX). As 2006 is the International Year of Exchange between Australia and Japan, the Wollemi Pine is set to become a symbol of these celebrations.
Web: http://japan.wollemipine.com or
The Wollemi Pine is set to become the first new registered plant in New Zealand since 1998 with the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA New Zealand) approving the importation of the ancient and rare species in 2005. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) protocols are yet to be finalised but it is expected that New Zealanders should be able to acquire their own Wollemi Pines by 2007. Ambrosia Nursery in Christchurch will be coordinating the distribution of the Pine in NZ. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
the Scenes with Tony Kirkham
Tony Kirkham is one of the UK’s great Arboriculturalists and is leading Wollemi Pine hardiness trials in the country in his role as Head of the Arboretum and Horticultural Services at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Prior to his involvement with the Wollemi Pine and Kew, Tony began his career as a forestry apprentice in Surrey at the age of 16. Here he got his first insight into working with trees and decided that he wanted to be a forester. He was advised against this as it was seen as a dying job in Britain and instead studied for his National Certificate in Horticulture where he qualified with the best practical marks in his year. Tony then moved to Hamburg as the Germans were pioneers in arboriculture in Europe at that time. Here Tony learnt a lot about tree management within urban and park environments and also in the Hamburg Botanic Gardens.
Ironically, Tony came to Kew to escape trees and study for the Kew Diploma to broaden his knowledge in horticulture. An experience that he says was the highlight of his career, Tony graduated with honours, but more importantly he realised that trees were where his passion lay. Tony was the only student to be offered a job at Kew upon graduation, and he spent the next 14 years managing part of Kew’s arboretum. During this time, Tony completed many expeditions plant collecting in East Asia, with the aim of adding to the tree collection and replacing trees that were lost in the storm of 1987.
Today, Tony and his team of over thirty staff and students are responsible for the management of over 10,000 trees in the living collection at Kew amongst many other responsibilities. Alongside this, Tony also manages to champion many other projects for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, including achieving the ISO140001 award for sustainability in 2005, and overseeing the trials of the Wollemi Pine.
Tony has 30 Wollemi Pines planted out in the open (unprotected by the weather) at Kew and Wakehurst Place (Kew’s sister garden in Sussex) which have survived the past winter and appear to be thriving. In May 2005, Tony coordinated a planting of a Wollemi Pine on the Orangery Lawn at Kew with Sir David Attenborough. Tony is closely following the progress of the trial and is convinced of their suitability for the UK.
“Each time I visit them, I never fail to give them a second glance and marvel at the fight back that this incredible plant has achieved, of course with a helping hand from mankind since it was discovered”, said Tony.
As a recognised worldwide expert in arboriculture, Tony is regularly asked to organise conferences and give lectures across the world. He is the author of two books. In his latest book, entitled ‘Plants from the Edge of the World’ (Timber Press, 2005), Tony shares his and co-writer and expedition partner Mark Flanagan’s experiences on expeditions. Tony is also the author of the indispensable reference guide to the ‘Pruning of trees, shrubs and conifers’ (Timber Press, 2004) and many other articles for a diverse range of publications. Tony has also made numerous television and radio appearances and now has his own series that will air on BBC Two in Autumn 2006, entitled ‘The Trees that made Britain’.
Tony recently ran in the ‘Treeathlon’ to support the Trees for Cities campaign for more trees in urban areas in the UK, and states “looking at trees anywhere in the world” as one of his hobbies, something that he regularly gets to indulge by working at Kew Gardens. It is clear that, to Tony, trees are more of a life passion than a job. And the Wollemi Pine is one of his most recent passions.
Visit the UK Wollemi Pine site to place an order for a Wollemi Pine.
Stay tuned to hear more about people like Tony who are behind the scenes
in the conservation of the Wollemi Pine.
Collectors Edition Profile
As one of the most significant historical estates and private gardens in Australia which dates back 150 years, the owners of Larundel, Victoria (Australia) thought it only fitting the Wollemi Pine have a place in their gardens.
Purchased at the auction of the first generation of Collectors Edition Wollemi Pines in October 2005, the precious and unique Wollemi Pine was planted on their son William’s first birthday. A plaque will read, “The Wollemi Pine is one of the rarest and oldest trees in the world, and this is one of the first planted in a private garden in celebration of our son William’s first birthday November 2005.”
When asked what the Wollemi Pine means to him, owner of Larundel, Paul Preat, said, “This tree is something rare and beautiful which needs to be preserved for all time. It has now also become something significant in the life of our son, William.”
The gardens at Larundel boast 64 acres of gorgeous and varied gardens including 10 acres formal garden and lawns, 19 acres parkland, 20 acres wetlands, 15 acres wooded grasslands. In addition there is a two kilometer long drive lined with 120 year old pine trees, native bush lands along the rivers, and 220,000 native tree planted over the past 15 years around the 4,000 acre property.
William’s Wollemi Pine has been planted on the fringe of the garden, on the northern boundary lawn, adjacent to the historic stables. A special area has been set up for group plantings of similar species. As a new addition to the garden, Paul commented, “It is one of the easiest to look after.”
Larundel is open to the public a number of weekends a year with around 4000 people visiting over a weekend. The Wollemi Pine has sparked particular interest from many of those visitors who now have the chance to view the amazing ‘dinosaur’ tree.
Wollemi Pine Awarded Most Beautiful Export
The ancient and rare Wollemi Pine joins an exclusive list of famous Australian products and people such as the Great Barrier Reef and Nicole Kidman to be honoured as one of Australia’s 50 Most Beautiful Exports for 2005.
The Austrade sponsored awards which recognise the people, places and products that contribute to Australia's image and profile overseas, were announced in December 2005 at a ceremony held at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
Discovered in 1994 in the Blue Mountains, the Wollemi Pine is currently being exported for release in 2006 in international markets such as the UK, Europe, US, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Over 160 retailers in Australia are currently taking advance orders for the trees which will be available in April 2006.
The 2005 panel of judges which identified the Wollemi Pine as representing the essence of Australia include: Dr Helen Nugent, Chairman Arts Council; Melissa Hoyer, social editor Daily Telegraph and presenter Foxtel; Ken Cowley, CEO & Chairman R.M Williams; and Peter O’Byrne, Managing Director Austrade.
Mrs Barbara McGeoch, general manager of Wollemi Pine International said, “The Wollemi Pine has become both a flagship species for conservation and an Australian icon. There is no doubt that the Wollemi Pine is an attractive plant and a desirable new Australian product so it is very exciting and fitting that it joins the ranks of the top 50 most beautiful exports for 2005.”
Wollemi Pine Tribute to Dr David Given
The late Dr David Given was a Wollemi Pine enthusiast and advocate. In his role as Botanical Services Curator at the Christchurch City Council, he led the charge in gaining approval from the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA New Zealand) to import the Wollemi Pine into New Zealand – setting a major precedent for other new plant introductions in New Zealand.
To recognise David’s commitment to the Wollemi Pine, a grove of five trees that were auctioned by Sotheby’s in Sydney in October were named in his honour and all the proceeds (A$15,300) donated to the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network.
The introduction of the Wollemi Pine to New Zealand (planned for 2006/7) is David’s legacy for plant enthusiasts in the country and will be a constant reminder of David’s passion for the need to conserve threatened plant species globally.
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