Pupil places Sycamore Gap seedling at Chelsea Flower Show with Dame Judi Dench

First published on: 21st May 2024

Dame Judi Dench with seven-year-old Charlotte Crowe, of Henshaw Church of England Primary School, at the Chelsea Flower Show. National Trust Images/James Dobson.


A pupil from a church school in Newcastle Diocese has taken a seedling from Sycamore Gap to the Chelsea Flower Show, where she placed it on public display with Dame Judi Dench.

Seven-year-old Charlotte Crowe attends Henshaw Church of England Primary, the closest school to the famous site on Hadrian’s Wall, where the iconic sycamore tree was inexplicably felled last September.

Charlotte attended the Chelsea Flower Show in London on Monday (20 May), taking with her a precious seedling grown from seeds collected from the Sycamore Gap tree. It was placed in the Trust’s beautiful plant-filled wildlife garden, prior to the show’s public opening.

The seedling is from a small collection of seeds and buds from the Sycamore Gap tree which are being propagated at the National Trust’s Plant Conversation Centre in Devon. It will return there following the show and will be quarantined before re-joining the other seedlings as they continue to grow. 

The honour was bestowed upon Charlotte after she won a competition at her school, where pupils were invited to draw a picture of the tree and write a poem about what it meant to them.

There was a national outpouring of shock and distress following last September’s incident, and it was clear how much the tree, which had stood for around 200 years, meant to many people, including Charlotte and Dame Judi, who is passionate about trees.  

Charlotte’s winning poem talks about the “mindful, famous, historical, magnificent tree.” Speaking after winning the competition, she said: “I am so happy that scientists are trying to grow the tree back as it means a lot to our school. I was surprised I had won the competition and am excited to go to London because I have never been before.”

Henshaw C.E Primary School’s Executive Head Teacher, Michael Glenton, who accompanied Charlotte to the show along with her parents, said: “The children and staff of Henshaw Primary School are thrilled to be working with the National Trust to remember this iconic landmark and continue to celebrate its importance to our local community. The tree is the logo for our two federated schools (together with Greenhead Church of England Primary), and we will continue to ensure this important symbol of our community endures.”

Known as the Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond, The National Trust’s garden is named after the organisation’s pioneering founder Octavia Hill (1838-1912).

The National Trust, working together with Northumberland National Park, Historic England and the Hadrian’s Wall Partnership, is planning a range of initiatives in the coming months which will include work with local schools, tree planting projects and artistic interpretations.

Here is Charlotte’s poem.

I went to see Hadrian’s Wall and I saw a tree.
It was a mindful tree.
It was a mindful, famous tree.
It was a mindful, famous, historical tree.
It was a mindful, famous, historical, magnificent tree.
It was a mindful, famous, historical, magnificent, welcoming tree.
I really hope sycamore gap grows back.
When I go and see the tree it brings back lots of memories.

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