Portcullis House fig trees raised in Parliament with cosmos suggested to replace them

Priti Patel MP asked the House of Commons Commission whether it has had recent discussions with any party on using the space in Portcullis House in Westminster previously occupied by fig trees,

Portcullis House figs

The fig trees, which lined the atrium of the glass-roofed Portcullis House in Westminster, were imported from Florida in 2001. In 2018, costs of maintenance were found to be £20,000 a year, and the trees have since gone.

Sir Charles Walker MP replied to Patel: "The trees in Portcullis House were removed as they had become root bound, and as a result were no longer viable.

"House teams are developing plans for the space in the Portcullis House atrium now the trees have been removed. The use of the space has been raised with the Administration Committee and it discussed the matter on 31 October. The Committee will be consulted later this year on the plans as they evolve."

Cosmos Bipinnatus National Collection holder Jonathan Sheppard offered free cross pollinated seed from his collection to sow in place of the "inappropriately planted" trees.

He said: "The offer was done as a private individual so of course they have a right to ignore and say no but the state they had left the two long planters looked awful, given its one of the busiest public facing parts of Parliament. 
"I suspect they will have all health and safety issues and cost implications to look at for any changes, but frankly what an opportunity if Government is serious about biodiversity, to not decrease it in the main office block for UK legislators and their staff."

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