Chelsea Flower Show: Dame Judi Dench Plants Gap Tree Seedling

Chelsea Flower Show © Dame Judi Dench is presented with the baby Sycamore Gap tree by schoolgirl, Charlotte.

A seedling recovered from the iconic Sycamore Gap tree, destroyed by vandals last September, has been planted at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show by none other than Judi Dench.

Schoolgirl and competition winner, Charlotte, helped Judi Dench place the seedling in the National Trust’s Octavia Hill Garden at the show on Monday.

The seedling is part of a collection that was propagated at the National Trust’s Plant Conservation Centre in Devon, where it will return after the show.

Sycamore Gap tree before it was destroyed last year in an act of vandalism. Image: Shutterstock.

This popular photo opportunity once stood tall along Hadrian’s Wall for nearly 200 years before it was illegally felled.

The Northumberland pupil Charlotte, seven, told the BBC that she was “so happy” conservationists were trying to regrow the tree and hoped the seedling would go on to be “like Sycamore Gap”.

Dame Judi had named the seedling Antoninus, in honour of the adopted son of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

You can view the seedling at the Chelsea Flower Show within the Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond.

The Sycamore Gap tree planted by Judi Dench at Chelsea Flower Show is first of many to come

This baby Sycamore is the first to go on public display – a number of the propagations from the rescued seeds began budding in March, so more sprouts are likely to follow.

Andrew Poad, the National Trust’s general manager for Hadrian’s Wall, told the Hexham Courant: “The response to the tree’s felling has been extraordinary and demonstrates how the tree was special to many, many people, including Charlotte and Dame Judi.”

Dame Judi Dench and school pupil, Charlotte, posing for photos with the Sycamore tree seedling at Chelsea Flower Show.

Dame Judi Dench and school pupil, Charlotte, posing for photos with the Sycamore tree seedling at Chelsea Flower Show. Image: Chelsea Flower Show.

Henshaw C.E Primary School’s executive head teacher Michael Glenton accompanied Charlotte to the show along with her parents.

Mr Glenton said that the school was “thrilled” to be working with the National Trust to remember the Sycamore Gap tree, which is the logo for the school.

“We will continue to ensure this important symbol of our community endures,” he said.

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Hannah McLaren

I've worked at DC Thomson for six years! I began as an intern at My Weekly and The Scots Magazine, which was extended by a few months to help out at The People's Friend. I then covered maternity as Celebrity Editor for My Weekly, before I became Multimedia Journalist at The Scots Magazine. Currently I'm writing digital content across each title.