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Winter 2017 Issue

Winter 2017 Issue

What's inside?

Welcome to the Winter 2017 issue.

Gardeners often attempt the impossible. I did so just recently when I hatched a dream to plant an Australian Wollemi Pine in a ceremony to celebrate the fact that our Cherry Blossom Tour to Japan in April was our 40th tour to Japan and someone among those travellers was the 1000th traveler to join us in Japan. Those numbers seemed to demand something special, and I admit it was a bizarre plan – and yet with the help of many friends – we achieved it.

The management of the historic, 144-year-old Nikko Kanaya Hotel, 150 kms north of Tokyo, agreed to provide the garden space; John Siemon, Curator Manager at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan, sourced a suitable tree; and Lisa Coutts at RAMM Botanicals supported the tree’s ‘Passport’, an AQUIS quarantine phyto-sanitary certificate for ‘LIVE Plants’.

Why a Wollemi? I was a Trustee of the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens when it was discovered in 1994, was one of the first to see it and have followed its global career even since. Back in 1994, the second individual tree discovered and documented by Dr Cathy Offord was Wollemia nobilis Lot 40 Tree 2, a tree called ‘Hercules’. A cutting was taken from this ancient survivor on May 27, 2014, and that was the tree we took to Japan.

For the journey it was ‘de-soiled’, replanted into vermiculite and perlite, packed into a secure box. It travelled with me and my group – and my Bicentenary Ceremonial Spade! After travelling through two countries in cars, bullet trains, planes and coaches over some 9436 kms, our special tree eventually arrived at its final resting place at the Nikko Kanaya Hotel, opposite the ornate Toshogu Shrine, the burial site of the Tokugawa Shogun. On the agreed day it unseasonably poured rain and the temperature plummeted to 5C, but past and present Presidents and all Kanaya Hotel management joined our two groups of Ross Garden travellers to witness this amazing moment.

Wollemi ‘Hercules Friendship’ is now growing well, a symbol of the enduring relationship between two family-run companies, Ross Garden Tours and the Nikko Kanaya Hotel; of the thousand people we have brought to this beautiful part of the world; and the bond we forged in 1980.

The entire proceedings can be found on Yahoo 7, Better Homes & Gardens broadcast May 26, 2017.