People passing through the notoriously busy Oxford Circus recently were given a rare opportunity to stop and smell the flowers.
A new tree had seemingly sprung up over night on Wednesday 19 October, with a printed sheet attached, which read:
“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!”
The tree elicited the desired effect with people taking to Twitter and Facebook to share their surprise and delight at Arrabella and her father’s gesture.
Arrabella’s father Neil Cornelius shared a video on Instagram showing Arrabella selecting and buying the tree they would plant.
“Bella and I replaced a tree that some dick head had pulled out of the ground (yes I must be mad),” he wrote in the caption.
Cornelius said Arrabella had suggested they plant a tree at the Oxford Circus site to replace one that had previously stood there.
“The trunk of the tree remained and was a reminder every time I passed it on my way to work,” he told the indy100.
“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?”
Cornelius’ guerrilla gardening was spotted by a passerby, who shared the photo below on Instagram.
Councillor Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking thanked Arabella 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,” she said.
“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”