Gardens tree fund 2021

Churchill Gardens fund and the 1000 trees fund

Churchill College is extremely proud of its grounds and gardens which covers over 42 acres and gives tremendous pleasure and wellbeing to it residents and visitors. 

The College has ambitious plans to plant another 100 trees this year, to reach the milestone of having 1000 trees planted in its large 42-acre site. The College currently has around 900 trees planted, varied species of native UK trees and many coming from Asia and the Americas. 

The first plant to be planted at Churchill College was an oak tree planted by Sir Winston Churchill

'I trust and believe that this College, this seed that we have sown, will grow to shelter and nurture generations who may add most notably to the strength and happiness of our people, and to the knowledge and peaceful progress of the world.  ‘The mighty oak from an acorn towers: A tiny seed can fill a field with flowers.’  Sir Winston Churchill

 Sir Winston Churchill planting the Oak 1959                 The oak in 2019

There is a video tour of the gardens with John Moore, the head of grounds and gardens of the College here:

Watch the tour

Our current aim is to raise enough to have planted 1,000 trees, which would be fitting during the College’s 60th anniversary celebrations – this will cost £12,000. Donors to the tree fund will have their names noted in the tree inventory – the plan is to number the trees planted by year, so donors in this anniversary year will be able to identify which tree/s they contributed to. We will also list donors in the Churchill Review, unless they prefer to remain anonymous.

We are delighted to have joined forces with our alumna Xiaotian Fu (G06), who will kindly match all donations to the gardens fund 1:1 up to £10,000 being reached – the matching is available until 28 February 2021.  

To make a gift to this cause please use the link below:

Make a gift

 Xiaotian is a great patron of the College. In May 2019 Churchill College honoured her and her work in encouraging excellence in education through her voluntary work and philanthropic major gift support by naming the Xiaotian Fu garden. Having achieved great success as a journalist with Phoenix Television, including her role as host of the programme 'Talk with World Leaders', Xiaotian Fu is giving back to Churchill College to help future generations of students with the gift of this garden environment added to her existing financial support for students. It is very rare for a former student to make a major gift so soon after his or her graduation and from so far away; we are grateful to Xiaotian Fu for her gift to the College and investment in education and excellence.   Find out more about the Xiaotian Fu garden here:  

Xiaotian Fu garden


The gardens of Churchill have now achieved national collection status through Plant Heritage, we are the first Cambridge College to have a National Collection. Out of over 650 in the country only 11 are named for multi-genera and from these only 3 after non horticultural people: Erasmus Darwin and his herbs of the time, Queen Mary II at Hampton Court exoticks collection and now Sir Winston Churchill (it is spelt exoticks which is the 17th century spelling).

The tree planting plan at Churchill

We already have a fantastic tree collection which then totalled some 900 trees covering 60 genus and well over 200 different species / cultivars. We have set an ambitious target of growing over 1000 trees on site.  These extra trees will bring new habitats for the wildlife and be visually appealing, with flowers, fruit, foliage and bark, trees often also evoke fond childhood memories. Trees give us shade in the summer and help to cool places down, they produce oxygen and they also help with climate change by soaking up carbon. 

To mark this campaign we will plant a Cedrus deodora ‘Aurea’ on Arbor Day (12th March). This will be planted near a Cedrus deodora planted by Sir Hermann Bondi and a group of 3 Acer cappidocicum’s planted by Lord Alec Broers and Lady Broers both past Masters of the College.

We completed the first year of tree planting in October 2020 and we have set the goal of reaching our 1000+ target by November 2022. To achieve this we intend to plant 50 trees per year normally in October / November.  The trees chosen will strengthen our tree diversity and give so much pleasure to residents and visitors alike.


Trees ready for planting October 2020

As ways to mark donations made to the appeal there will be a list of tree sponsors kept with the College tree inventory.  Unfortunately, it will not be possible for people to choose a tree or its location as this has to be done carefully to suit the growing requirements and the location. Each tree will be given a label which identifies the name of the tree along with an accession number. An example label can be seen below. The label shows it is an apple tree and the cultivar is Winston named after Sir Winston Churchill. The accession number shows that it was planted 2016 and was the first tree to be planted that year (2016 year 01 first to be planted that year).

Tree label

An example of trees to be planted over the next 2 years
• Araucaria araucana
• Cedrus deodora ‘Aurea’
• Cedrus atlantica glauca pendula
• Halesia monticola
• Malus x robusta ‘Red Sentinel’
• Lagerstroemia indica ‘Alba’
• Nyssa sylvatica
• Pinus peuce
• Pinus pinea
• Pinus wallichiana
• Sequoia sempervirens
• Sequoiadendron giganteum
• Sequoiadendron giganteum ‘Barabits Requiem'
• Sequoiadendron giganteum glauca
• Zelkova serrata

This tree planting will form a lasting legacy especially when you consider the Sequoiadendron giganteum can live for several thousand years. I feel sure that Sir Winston Churchill would approve of this project to carry on planting trees which he set in motion with the first tree in 1959.  When Churchill planted the tree on the barren site could he have imagined it 60 years on towering above the buildings and another 1000 thriving trees on the now green and wooded site. 

John Moore, Head of Grounds & Gardens, Churchill College

Make a gift