Welcome to the eleventh edition of the Wollemi Watch, a quarterly newsletter for Wollemi Pine enthusiasts everywhere.
Since releasing the Wollemi Pine in Australia in April, the Wollemi Pine has been making its way into homes, gardens and parklands across the country at an amazing rate. This issue reports on feedback from new Wollemi Pine owners and acknowledges the fantastic work of a number of our leading retailers in Australia. In addition to the Australian activities, we provide an update on the release activities internationally. We spotlight our friends in Italy who have been busy showcasing the Pine to Italian enthusiasts at a series of national events. Finally we remind Australians that Planet Ark’s National Tree Day is coming up in July and encourage you all to find out more about how your school or community group can get involved.
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Newsflash: Worldwide Wollemi Pine Availability
To herald the retail launch of the Wollemi Pine in Australia, a series of successful uncaging events were staged at botanic gardens across Australia. Cranes were used to “release” the Wollemi Pines at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, and the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens to much fanfare and media attention.
David Noble who has been eager to plant his own Wollemi Pine since he discovered the Jurassic trees in the Blue Mountains back in 1994, was acknowledged at the Sydney celebrations and presented with his own Pine.
David was also the guest of honour and officially opened “The Wollemi Walk of Discovery” at Mount Annan Botanic Gardens in Camden (Sydney). ABC Gardening celebrity, Jerry Coleby-Williams expressed his excitement that people now have the opportunity to own this piece of living history and are able to see a grove of 90 of these magical trees in a botanic garden.
In Brisbane, a grove of Wollemi Pines was planted at Roma Street Parklands, the world’s largest urban subtropical garden.
200 stockists have now been selected to retail the coveted Australian native conifer and sales for the Pine have been strong.
To order your own living fossil visit www.wollemipine.com/order or call 1800 965 543.
A series of limited edition Wollemi Pines have been released in the UK with significant royalties going to the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Kew. A donation to RBG Kew is being made for every Wollemi Pine sold in 2006 by Kernock Plants (the sole licensed grower of the Wollemi Pine in the UK).
“This is a unique opportunity for us to be able to link horticulture with conservation. Everyone here at our nursery is very enthusiastic about the future prospects for this living dinosaur," said Bruce Harnett, Managing Director of Kernock Park Plants.
The Wollemi Pine was displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show in May and Her Majesty The Queen spoke with knowledge about the Wollemi Pine at the Sheen Botanical stand (the manufacturer of Wollemi labels in the UK). The Wollemi Pine was accompanied by closely related family members including Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle or Pehuén), A. angustifolia (Paraná Pine), A. bidwillii (Bunya-Bunya), A. columnaris (Cook Pine), A. cunninghamii (Moreton Bay or Hoop Pine) and heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine) as well as Agathis australis (Kauri Pine).
To order a Wollemi Pine in the UK visit www.wollemipine.co.uk or contact Kernock Park Plants on 01579 350561 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern Europe has embraced the arrival of the Wollemi Pine, showcasing the new attraction at a number of national events. The international flower fair, Flora Bratislava, saw life sized dinosaurs from the nearby Dino Park guard the Wollemi Pine at the display. The President of Slovakia and David Noble planted the first Wollemi Pine in Slovakia and staged an informative seminar. In the Czech Republic, the Wollemi Pine was guarded by "men in black" to ensure its safety at a busy conference in Prague.
For regular updates on events in Eastern Europe visit: www.wollemipine.sk
A series of eight plantings in French Botanic Gardens are scheduled for 2006. Plants will be available for purchase from Fall 2006. Stay tuned to future editions of the Wollemi Watch for more information.
Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland
Ramping up the activities in Germany, a series of nine Wollemi Pine plantings are scheduled in 2006 to join the first Wollemi Pine which was planted in the Palmengarten in Frankfurt in 2005. Events are also scheduled in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. For regular updates on these events, stay tuned to the web site: http://germany.wollemipine.com
Wollemi Australia’s partners in the US are working overtime to develop the networks required for introducing the Wollemi Pine to North America. It is expected that Spring 2007 will be the launch date of Wollemi Pines in North America. Contact Josh Schneider for more information and stay tuned to the Wollemi Watch for when we release details of the eagerly awaited North American launch.
Flower Auction Japan, the distributor for the Wollemi Pine in Japan will be releasing the Wollemi Pine in early Summer 2006. As 2006 is the International Year of Exchange between Australia and Japan, the Wollemi Pine is set to become a symbol of these celebrations. Recently a special event and seminar on the Wollemi Pine was staged at the Tottori Botanic Gardens as part of the Japan Association of Botanic Gardens congress. The Pine is then due to be showcased in October at Makuhari Messe (Dinosaur Expo 2006) and at IFEX (International Flower Expo – Tokyo). For more information, visit: http://japan.wollemipine.com or email: email@example.com
The application for the importation of the Wollemi Pine by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is progressing and Pines are expected to be available in 2007. Distribution networks and partnerships to grow the Wollemi Pine in NZ are being formed to ensure that once the application is approved, New Zealanders will be able to buy their Wollemi Pine without further delays. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Behind the Scenes: The Wollemi in Italy
Italians waited in long queues to see the Wollemi Pine at the Euroflora show in Genova, the biggest flower show in the world with over 600,000 visitors. The show’s theme was water as a prehistoric source of life which needs to be conserved.
The spectacular waterfall beside the 3 metre cage showcasing the ancient Wollemi Pines was guarded closely by huge dinosaurs from the Jurassic period, which of course made the Wollemi Pine feel right at home.
The showcase won the “Best Display” at the ten hectare Euroflora event with fierce competition from floriculturalists and nursery gardeners from around the world. To see images from the display, visit www.wollemipine.it/euroflora/.
Some high profile Italian celebrities attended the show including, Cardinal Rarcisio Bertone and the actress Claudia Koll.
The Wollemi Pine was also a favourite with the media with nearly all print, television and radio media running stories on the Pine, its history and amazing discovery. There have been over 130 reports in the Italian papers about the Wollemi Pine and 25 television reports bringing the knowledge of the Wollemi Pine to many Italian homes.
The first Wollemi Pines were sent to enthusiastic Italian collectors in April 06 and interest has since been growing in this unique Australian Pine. To visit the Italian site and order a tree, visit http://www.wonderplants.it/.
Voted “The most beautiful garden in Italy” in 2005, the garden of Castel Trauttmansdorff now boasts a Wollemi Pine among its collection of beautiful plants. The Pine was flown in by helicopter to this prestigious Italian garden and is protected by a metal cage. The Botanic Gardens of Firenze, Palermo, Cagliari and Pisa have since planted Wollemi Pines to encourage as many Italians to visit the ancient tree. For more information about events in Italy visit www.wollemipine.it
Letters from Australian Wollemi Pine owners
Since the April 1 release in Australia, many new Australian owners of the Wollemi Pine have been writing to us to share their stories of caring for their own “Living Fossil”. Following are some of their stories:
"We love our Wollie which we have bought in celebration of our little granddaughter's birth in January (the same year we got Wollie). Our daughter and husband were thrilled with the idea as they were very interested in Wollemi and visited Wollemi National Park in their travels around Australia"
Wollemi Pine Conservation Club member, Queensland
"I have just collected a Wollemi Pine from the Yarralumla Nursery in Canberra. On my journey back to work, the plant travelled in the front seat of the car, buckled safely in a seatbelt, of course. As I carried the plant back to my office I caused quite a stir amongst my work colleagues. Everybody it seemed wanted to stop me to inspect and admire the plant, and chat about its pedigree, vital statistics etc. The degree of attention reminded me of the time Ibrought my new-born daughter into the office! My thanks for making such a special plant available for us all to enjoy."
Wollemi enthusiast, April 2006
“I received my Wollemi Pine on Monday, 20th March 2006 (also notable as the date of the birth of a great nephew of mine, the first male to be born to the 4th generation of our particular family); however, back to the tree, 'Dina', as in 'female dinosaur', arrived in good condition, and the soil was still quite moist. I stood Dina on the table in front of a large window and during the day the branches splayed out, (stretching to relieve cramped limbs I believe), and she now stands proudly in a brand new large pot, in the very best of potting soil added to her already rich soil, and surrounded by a band of dinosaurs including Rex from Toy Story.”
Proud owner, Mrs V Knox, Australia
"I was really excited when my pine turned up last week. It is a beautiful little plant and arrived in very good health. You did a brilliant job on the packaging and transportation."
One owner lost some foliage to a “greedy ringtail possum”. She says that it was an “opportunity to see the amazing protective mechanism of the little white wax balls that have appeared on nearly every wound. It is truly an amazing tree.”
Anita, Melbourne, Australia.
The Wollemi Pine is the focus of a discussion group on Yahoo called “Wollemia”. It has been set up by the proud owner of a young Wollemi Pine to share experiences with other Wollemi Pine owners. Some images have been posted and new members are welcome. To join this group visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wollemia/
Retailers Shine in Australian Advance Order Program
Over 150 selected stockists across Australia took advance orders for the Wollemi Pine from November 2005 (prior to the April 2006 release date) to ensure their customers were able to secure one of the very first trees.
This advance ordering process was a great success with over 20,000 Pines being ordered, highlighting the widespread demand for the reintroduction of one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants.
Wollemi Australia would like to recognise the excellent efforts of the following stockists for being outstanding retailers in terms of sales and service to Wollemi Pine customers.
|Wicked Cackle Nursery,
|Palms for Brisbane Nursery,
||Kuranga Native Nursery,
|Wodonga Plant Farm,
||The Heritage Nursery,
|Greengold Federation Square,
Seven Mile Beach
||Heynes Garden Centre,
|State Flora Nursery,
||Alice Springs Nursery,
|Ironstone Lagoon Nursery,
We encourage you to visit these great nurseries or to search for your local stockist in Australia on our web site.
Planet Ark's National Tree Day
Planet Ark is gearing up to plant the 10 millionth tree in Australia. National Tree Day is set for Sunday July 31st.
Last year more than 350,000 volunteers participated in the event and over 1.5 million native trees were planted across 4,000 sites in Australia.
Many Wollemi Pine stockists will be supporting National Tree Day and School’s Tree Day on the 28th of July 06 by donating trees to community projects and supporting National Tree Day sites.
For more information call the National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 88 5000 or visit www.planetark.com/treeday.
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