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.
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.”
• 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