The landscape at Flaybrick was created by Edward Kemp one of the most important of Victorian landscape designers and a large proportion of the trees we see were planted by him in 1864. We are fortunate to be able to appreciate his work in its maturity something that he did not live to see. We are also fortunate in that of the many important landscapes left to us by Kemp, Flaybrick is the most intact. As we look around the overwhelming presence is that of the trees, not the memorials. The importance of his legacy cannot be underestimated, it is why Flaybrick is Grade 11* listed by Historic England and why Flaybrick is recognised as significant by the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe.
The key components of his landscaping work are holly, holm oak, Austrian pine and lime trees and you will see these trees throughout the gardens. Of particular importance are the limes, classed by the Tree Register of the British Isles as the finest collection in North West England. Of particular note is the American lime which is the national champion by girth. Another three lime trees are listed as county champions by girth. The beech trees are of particular note featuring the unusual cut leaf beech and there are three county champions by girth amongst them. Finally, the Exeter elm is our eighth county champion by girth.
The Friends of Flaybrick introduced a memorial tree scheme in Flaybrick and this has increased the total number of species to over 140, more than anywhere else on the Wirral after Ness Botanic Gardens. The scheme is currently on hold pending a review of the landscape to decide how it can best be managed in the future to protect Kemp’s work.
The Friends also set up a Great Trees of the Wirral website to further foster interest in trees locally. In the near future we will be producing more guidance and interpretation for the arboretum. We feel that demonstrating the importance of trees in our lives as a key role for us in the future.