Tony Miller was head gardener of Christchurch Park from 1966-91, and died in December 2010 just a little short of his 78th birthday. In his memory, Tony’s family has presented the Reg Driver Visitor Centre with a delightful painting by the artist and illustrator Richard Allen (www.richardallenillustrator.com), showing Tony at work in the Upper Arboretum. The painting hangs in the foyer and bears the title, “Upper Arboretum, Ipswich 1990, with Tony Miller, Head Gardener 1966-91”.
Tony’s family is also making arrangements to donate a rather special tree, which it’s hoped will be planted later this year in the Upper Arboretum. The tree is an English Elm, one of some 2,000 saplings and cuttings propagated from a disease-resistant Elm, discovered in Essex at the height of the Dutch Elm Disease outbreak. In the 1970s and 80s the disease robbed England of virtually all its 25 million Elm trees, a good many of them in Christchurch Park. You can read more about these remarkable survivors in the Times Online – English Elm Survivor. It’s hoped that the ‘young’ tree will be planted by Tony Powell, a current member of the Christchurch Park gardening team, who was apprenticed to Tony Miller from 1970-72. We’ll hope to bring you more news about this in due course.