Isolation ends for Olive the single palm tree

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The Independent Online
A lorryload of Italian palm trees is bringing new life to a historic palm house in Liverpool's Sefton Park.

A lorryload of Italian palm trees is bringing new life to a historic palm house in Liverpool's Sefton Park.

The 12 palms were brought 1,000 miles from Pisaas part of the building's £3m restoration.

They end two years of isolation for the palm tree that refused to give up. The solitary tree, nicknamed Olive by staff, was left behind when the other plants were moved to a temporary home two years ago. Olive was too large to move and has braved two winters without any protection from the elements. Experts believe the tree may have been a rare survivor from when the glasshouse was built in the 1890s.

Elizabeth-Anne Williams, director of the Sefton Park Palm House Preservation Trust, said: "Olive has survived very well. We are all delighted that she now has plenty of company. The palm house is looking wonderful and now that the plants and trees are returning it will get better by the day."

Plants and trees, that have been stored in the council's glasshouses in Garston, will be returned in time for the official opening on 6 September.

The trust will raise money by hosting events such as concerts, candlelight dinners and even wedding ceremonies. A campaigner, Jane Baxter, said: "Everybody has worked hard to restore the palm house to its former glory. It looks absolutely magnificent. It will become a major attraction."

The palm house was a gift from a local businessman, Henry Yates Thompson. In 1941 every pane of glass was shattered by a German bomb falling close by. It was reglazed in the early 1950s but fell into disrepair in the 1980s.

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