Rescued tropical plants arrive at Woburn Forest

Incredible journey of plants from around the world comes to an end

It takes around one hour to plant each plant
It takes around one hour to plant each plant
Jean Henkens taking care of the finer details
Jean Henkens taking care of the finer details
16,000 bags of soil are needed for the plants
16,000 bags of soil are needed for the plants
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It takes around one hour to plant each plant
It takes around one hour to plant each plant
Jean Henkens taking care of the finer details
Jean Henkens taking care of the finer details
16,000 bags of soil are needed for the plants
16,000 bags of soil are needed for the plants

The build of Woburn Forest has reached a tree-mendous milestone today, as the first delivery of tropical plants – rescued from East Asia by Jean Henkens – arrive at the new Village.

More than 6,000 tropical plants will be arriving at Woburn Forest during the spring, with 4,800 of those earmarked for the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. This moment marks the beginning of the end of a 12-month long journey for the plants, which have been saved and cared for by Jean, Botanist and Landscape Architect.

Intrepid rescuer
In the summer of 2012, Center Parcs challenged Jean to source, collect and care for tropical plants for the interior areas of the new Center Parcs Village in Bedfordshire. Not one to do things by halves, he travelled around East Asia last year, collecting plants from areas threatened with deforestation including Sumatra, Laos and Burma. After months of travelling and working with local villagers to collect and look after plants in local nurseries, the 6,000 plants were then transported to Rotterdam where they have been looked after and acclimatised in 15-metre-high greenhouses.

This is the first step for the plants and their new life at Woburn Forest; it will take around four weeks for all 6,000 to be delivered, with a majority of the plants being planted in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise to create the lush environment we all know and love, with others being planted in various internal areas such as the Plaza and the Aqua Sana Spa.

Privilege and honour
Richard Watson, Landscape Asset Manager, says: “It’s amazing to have been a part of this incredible process. We are not only improving the biodiversity of the forests that our Villages are in, but we have also rescued tropical species from around the world.

“These tropical plants also breathe life into the buildings that are now almost complete at Woburn Forest. We feel very privileged and honoured to be the new guardians of these plants and know families will appreciate them for many years to come.”

Flourishing facts
800 different species of tropical plants will be housed at Woburn Forest
35 containers took the plants from Burma and Malaysia by sea to Rotterdam
16,000 bags of soil are needed for planting
10 people will deliver and place the plants in their new home
One hour: time taken plant each tree
400 years is the age of the Holy Tree, blessed by monks in Thailand

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  • Angie

    Great to see you have taken delivery of the plants. What an exciting and nerve wracking day that must have been for the team! How is The Holy Tree doing? Hope all the plants are acclimatising well and that there will be an update on that soon.

    • Amy Dickson

      Hi Angie,

      We’re pleased to say that the Holy Tree is doing well in its new home and we’ll have an update for you once delivery of the plants is complete. Keep checking back for more news!

Amy Dickson

Post Author:
Amy Dickson

As Brand Content Manager I plan, create and curate the best articles, photos, videos and music for our channels, in particular the blog. With a degree in Journalism under my belt and many years’ experience in the big smoke as a journalist and editor, my focus is firmly on discovering the little gems hidden away in Center Parcs life, before buffing them up to make them sparkle online. From on-village events to the latest travel industry trends, I’ll be there – notepad in hand – to bring you the most entertaining and interesting stories.