Today was the first day when it really did feel as though Winter is on it’s way. Cold, wet, windy and dark! One thing that keeps my spirits up is finding little gems like this Cyclamen coum flowering in my garden. Easy in free draining dry soil once settled they start to seed around. They range in colour from white to dark pink, and have some amazing leaf variations. They make me feel as those Spring is not that far away!
Author: David Rowlinson 26/11/2011
Common names – Giant Redwood, Big Tree, Sierra-redwood, Wellingtonia
My interest in trees first took hold in 1998 when I started to collect them, after my wife purchased my first Monkey Puzzle Tree. The planting of trees in the Arboretum began in 1999, with one of the first trees planted being a Giant Redwood. Since then the collection has expanded to the point where there are currently over 50 Sequoiadendron planted at Abbeywood, containing 30 different cultivars. I find Redwoods to be one of the most interesting trees I know of. There is a prehistoric majesty about them and to see them growing in their natural habitat is an awe inspiring sight.
Giant sequoias are the world’s largest trees in terms of total volume. They grow to an average height of 50–85 metres (160–279 ft) and 6–8 metres (20–26 ft) in diameter. Record trees have been measured to be 94.8 metres (311 ft) in height and over 17 metres (56 ft) in diameter. The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old. Sequoia bark is fibrous, furrowed, and may be 90 centimetres (3.0 ft) thick at the base of the columnar trunk. It provides significant fire protection for the trees. The leaves are evergreen, awl-shaped, 3–6 mm long,and arranged spirally on the shoots.
In 2005 I visited California and was able to see this magnificent trees growing in their natural habit. I visited the Sequoia National Park and saw the incredible General Sherman Tree, with its massive trunk, it is not the tallest tree in the world but the largest by volume and over two thousand years old. On this trip I also visited the Mariposa Grove near to Yosemite. On a tour of the Grove I saw the Grizzly Giant and the Wawona Tunnel Tree, Renamed the “Fallen Tunnel Tree” after it toppled over during a snow storm in 1969. Also on this tour I saw the ability of the trees to resist forest fires and slowly heal themselves from the damage caused by fire. The Bark of Giant Redwoods can be from 6 to 12 inches thick and insulates mature redwoods against fire damage. Redwoods get their colour and name from the reddish-brown, chemical tannin. Tannin makes the bark and wood resistant to fire and attack by fungi and insects. Fire is however a natural part of the life cycle of Redwood forests and it was realised that in order for seeds to germinate the cones needed the intense heat generated from forest fires for cones to release their seed and allow new trees to germinate.
I hope to return one day to see these trees again and maybe visit other Parks containing Redwoods.
The current list of cultivars in my collection are as follows:
It is intended to keep adding to the collection of Redwoods, in particular Sequoiadendron and eventually I am hoping to achieve National Collection status.
I have never been a huge fan of conifers, usually the word conjures up the image of leylandii. However since David started collecting them in his Arboretum he has opened my eyes to some beautiful, graceful, elegant worthwhile conifers. Here is one that resides in my garden Pinus wallichiana, turning that fantastic silver/blue winter colour.
Whilst out in the vegetable garden last week Simon our invaluable gardener, noticed that there where caterpillars nibbling on the cabbages. Normally he said they have gone by September, but with the unusually mild weather and the fact we have only had one frost so far, they have kept on going. They didn’t seem to be on the very purple cabbages that we have out there, or perhaps they saw me coming!
Welcome to our new Abbeywood gardens blog.
You will often find me here posting pictures and updates on all things new at Abbeywood Gardens Cheshire. The Autumn colour this year has been fantastic, particulary the berries on the hollies around the estate. We have also had bumper harvests of acorns, cobnuts and sweet chestnuts. We have yet to have a proper frost yet, so the colour in the gardens has lasted for far longer than the past couple of years.