Damian Smyth

A mysterious tree has appeared in the middle of one of London's busiest roads with a message putting a smile on the faces of passers-by.

Photos of the tree on Oxford Street started to appear on Wednesday, after being planted by a 7-year-old called Arrabella Cornelius and her father.

The message attached to the tree says:

Dear Everybody, My name  is Arrabella Cornelius. I am 7. I have planted this tree here for everyone to watch it grow and enjoy. Please respect it as I bought it with my own money. Plus my Daddy risked getting arrested planting it!  Arrabella xx #Mytreelondon PS Check out my flowers #W1sunflowers


Damian Smyth, who spotted the tree outside Uniqlo on the busy thoroughfare on Wednesday, told indy100 that the tree went largely unnoticed:

[I] was amazed by how many people didn't notice it, [it] was slap bang in the middle of the pavement.


Others on social media have shared images of the tree with messages of support:

A little further investigation uncovered this image of the tree being planted in the middle of the night:

A further look at the #W1Sunflowers hashtag unearthed this video of Arrabella and her father Neil planting the tree:

And it's not the first time the pair have got up to a spot of guerilla gardening...

Neil, who works in a hairdressing salon on the nearby New Bond Street, told indy100 that the original tree that stood in that spot had been damaged:

The trunk of the tree remained and was a reminder every time I passed it on my way to work. After a number of months the council removed the trunk and and left a hole.  It was a conversation my daughter and I would have each time we passed the spot, why hadn’t Westminster [council] planted another tree? Then one day my daughter suggested that we repeat what we did earlier in the year on Weymouth street with sunflowers... 



Earlier this year, the pair planted a load of sunflowers and tomatoes on a road elsewhere in the borough.

Neil added that he undertook guerilla gardening as a way to teach Arrabella "something positive".

[It's] about giving to the community and life and not expecting anything in return. It was just a really nice thing to do. Plus we both a little mischievous and thought of the idea as being fun and slightly naughty. The plan is to now plant a tree in every borough in London! 


Cllr Heather Acton, of Westminster council, told indy100:

We thank Arrabella and her father for their hard work and kindness in planting this cheerful tree after the original one planted there was knocked over several weeks ago. We recognise that people care about their local environment, which is fantastic. We all need to work together to create a greener city and planting more trees is an important part of our own plans for Westminster.


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