Silver thatch readied for UK

Staff of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the Department of Agriculture worked on Sunday and Monday to prepare the silver thatch tree bound for the Chelsea Flower Show.

The first step, which took place on Sunday afternoon, was to wash every bit of soil from its roots because no plants can be imported into England in foreign soil.

The tree was then placed in a 50-gallon pot with shredded Caymanian Compass newspaper to hold moisture for the exposed root system.

Examination and spraying were scheduled for Monday, after which the Department of agriculture could issue the required photo sanitary certificate.

If all goes as planned the roots will then be wrapped in wet newspaper again and covered by plastic, park general manager Andrew Guthrie explained.

Workers will tie the trees branches together so that the tree becomes a straight cylinder about 15 feet long. It will then be crated for shipment to Miami via Cayman Airways and then to Holland by another carrier. The Tropical Plant Centre there will receive the palm and truck it to London.

Chelsea is a borough of London. The Chelsea Flower Show takes place on the grounds of the Pensioners Hospital, along the River Thames.

The tree will be replanted on 13 May at Cayman’s display for the annual show, which Mr. Guthrie described as ‘not the biggest, but the most prestigious flower show in the world, because the standards are incredibly high.’

The tree does not come from the botanic park, he explained. One reason is the low rate of survival for silver thatches dug out of the ground. The Dart Nursery donated the tree after rescuing it from a development when the owner offered to sell trees before clearing the land.

The tree was already out of its environment, Mr. Guthrie said. It was transported to the park in a 100-gallon pot.

The next problem, how to keep the roots damp, was soled after park deputy general manager contacted Mr. Justin Uzzell at Cayman Free Press.

Mr. Uzzell agreed to donate unused newsprint, which contains no dyes and has good absorbent qualities. Then Cay-Shred donated its services to shred the newsprint.

Along with the silver thatch, which is Cayman’s national tree, the exhibit will feature rosemary shrubs, bulrush and the banana orchid.

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