Brownies to lead dancing round Marlborough's jubilee mulberry bush
Marlborough was one of just 60 communities awarded a special tree by the Tree Council to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee last year.
And while most towns and villages chose a royal oak, Marlborough's Community Orchard team – which has the ambition to create A Town in an Orchard – plumped for a mulberry tree, which has its own royal connections.
In 1608, King James I had a Mulberry Garden planted just north of where Buckingham Palace now stands. The king was keen to cultivate silkworms and kick-start England's own silk industry.
Unfortunately, the king imported black mulberrys, which bear tasty fruit, but are not great breeding grounds for silkworms, which prefer the leaves of the white mulberry.
England's silk industry never got off the ground, but the country did get an excellent source of jam.
Today, the mulberry tree is perhaps best remembered for the nursery rhyme, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush; and at a ceremony on Sunday, April 28 the town's Brownies will lead the dancing around the tree, which will be planted at the diamond-shaped Jubilee Orchard on Marlborough Common.
The tree will be unveiled by Sue Clifford and Angela King, founders of environmental charity Common Ground and creators of the Apple Day initiative, and by Edwina Fogg in her last official role as mayor.
There will be a chance for visitors to join in the revels, see silkworm cocoons, and have a taste of mulberry jam.
Philippa Davenport, chairman of the Community Orchard committee, said: “The mulberry tree will be the crowning glory of our Diamond Jubilee Plantation.
“We intend to send a jar of jam from the first crop to The Queen, by way of thanks for the free fruit that Marlborough people will enjoy for years to come.”
The ceremony takes place on Sunday, April 28 from 2.30pm at the Jubilee Orchard, which is close to Marlborough Rugby Club.