Halesworth pupils plant special Hooker Oak as part of bicentenary celebrations

Children from Edgar Sewter Primary School plant a Hooker Oak tree for the Joseph Hooker Bicentenary

Children from Edgar Sewter Primary School plant a Hooker Oak tree for the Joseph Hooker Bicentenary trail in Halesworth. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A special tree has been planted in honour of Halesworth botanist Sir Joseph Hooker, as the town prepares for a weekend of celebrations.

Children from Edgar Sewter Primary School plant a Hooker Oak tree for the Joseph Hooker Bicentenary

Children from Edgar Sewter Primary School plant a Hooker Oak tree for the Joseph Hooker Bicentenary trail in Halesworth. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Events are being held on Saturday and Sunday to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the famous 19th century botanist and explorer. A director of Kew Gardens and supporter of Charles Darwin, Hooker was one of the first and most important British men of science. He was born in Halesworth on June 30, 1817.

And on Tuesday, 10 pupils from Edgar Sewter Primary School planted a Hooker Oak in Halesworth Town Park to commemorate the milestone.

Children from Edgar Sewter Primary School plant a Hooker Oak tree for the Joseph Hooker Bicentenary

Children from Edgar Sewter Primary School plant a Hooker Oak tree for the Joseph Hooker Bicentenary trail in Halesworth. Pictured with Ruth Walker from Halesworth in Bloom. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The pupils, who are part of the school's eco council, have been learning about Hooker for the past term under their heroes and heroines and plants and animals topics.

They joined members of Halesworth in Bloom for the planting, using trowels to dig a hole before watering the area.


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The pupils also discussed how the park would once have been the garden for nearby Hooker House, how Hooker bought rhododendrons from the Himalayas over to England and the types of questions they would ask him about plants if they met him.

The tree will form part of a plant trail around the park, launched specially for the bicentenary.

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Pupils from the school have also created an art display which will be on show at The Cut, with work based on the places Hooker visited as an explorer.

It will form part of an exhibition and presentation with speakers at the arts centre on Sunday.

Doors will open at 2pm to allow visitors to view the exhibitions, books and special commemorative items. From 2.15pm, there will be a Kew presentation, with Victoria Mills talking about Hooker's letters, followed by Professor John Parker, director of Cambridge Botanical Gardens. Tickets cost £10, available from The Cut box office, and tea will be served afterwards.

Other events will include an exhibition from the Chelsea School of Botanical Art at Halesworth Gallery in Steeple End, which opens to the public on Saturday and continues until July 19, along with the unveiling of a Bicentenary Montage at Hooker House at noon on Sunday by Brian Thornton, president of Anglia in Bloom.

Other bicentenary events

St Mary's Church will be hosting a flower festival on the theme of Joseph Hooker - a love of flowers. It opens tomorrow and runs until July 7.

A bicentenary booklet for Halesworth's Hooker Trail will be available from the museum, library and St Mary's Church.

Guided walks around the Hooker Trail, starting from Hooker House in Quay Street, will take place on Saturday at 11am and 2pm and Sunday at 11am.

Enjoy a Joseph Hooker walk within the Green Flag awarded Halesworth Town Park, with associated planting of rhododendrons and other plants first brought back by Hooker, or associated with him.

The Millennium Green Trust will be combining its annual open day with the milestone to stage a Scientific Camp. The camp will be set up near the entrance to Millennium Green on Sunday between 10am and noon. It will include displays, activities and nibbles.

Fox's Cards in the Thoroughfare will be selling Hooker bicentenary beakers and tea towels.

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