Seeds from a Ginkgo tree, which survived the 1945 atomic bombing of Japan, have been given to Norwich City Council to create a lasting symbol of peace.
As part of the international Mayors for Peace programme, which the city council is a member of, seeds from hibaku-jumoku or ‘survivor’ trees have been gifted to cities across the world, including Norwich.
The idea is for the seeds to be germinated and the trees planted in a location where people can gather to nurture them and reflect on peace.
In Norwich, one of the Ginkgo trees will be planted in Chapelfield Gardens – with another at Easton College where the seeds have been germinated.
Lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr Dr Kevin Maguire, said: “Norwich prides itself on being a diverse city and a welcoming city, where people have lived together in harmony – from the ‘strangers’ who arrived here in the sixteenth century, to those fleeing conflict in more recent years.
“Alongside residents who are opening up their homes, the city council is providing help and support to people coming to Norwich from Ukraine and I think the aim of world peace is something that is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”
Working with its lead arboricultural officer, Ed Bolton, the city council asked horticulture students at Easton College to germinate the seeds.
Ed wanted to involve the students in the project, both to give them the experience of working with these unique seeds and so they could learn the history of the trees and the Mayors for Peace programme.
Horticulture lecturer at Easton College, Dawn Marjoram, has overseen the careful process of germinating the seeds, which involved eight weeks of warm stratification, followed by eight weeks of cold stratification, prior to planting.
The progress of the seeds has been closely followed by students on Easton College’s horticulture courses.
“It was a real honour to be entrusted with the germination of these precious seeds which have so much significance,” said Dawn.
“It has been a great experience for our horticulture students to learn about the process of growing Ginkgo Biloba trees, and to engage with the important history behind the seedlings that we are now nurturing.”
Depending on how they grow, it is expected the trees will be planted in Norwich and at Easton College next year.