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Old giants are Tree-mendous

PUBLISHED: 16:07 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 17:13 16 August 2010

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WITH most of the recent headlines focusing on the all too familiar bank bail-outs, far flung wars and Oscar domination for Slumdog Millionaire - (I ve already seen it twice and think it s brilliant) - you may not have spotted the sad tale of an ancient gi

WITH most of the recent headlines focusing on the all too familiar bank bail-outs, far flung wars and Oscar domination for Slumdog Millionaire - (I've already seen it twice and think it's brilliant) - you may not have spotted the sad tale of an ancient giant in the Devonshire Countryside.

Only the Green Man would spot this you might rightly whisper to yourself!

For the Green Man this has undoubtedly been the story of the week - if not the fortnight.

The Luscombe Oak as it was called was the centrepiece of Phear Park in Exmouth.

This registered champion oak didn't come crashing to the ground in gale force winds but was uprooted only in light winds.

Believed to be some 250 years old and dying of old age, it was one of the largest oak trees in the world with a girth of over 26 foot.

Now that's a big friendly giant of a tree. A great poignant character lost.

I've been fortunate enough to grow up with a whole cluster of ancient trees at Lullingstone from the stately trio of pre-Victorian Cedars of Lebanon between Lullingstone's St Botolph's Church and Tudor Manor House to the oldest collection of Oak Pollards in the UK on the 18-hole Lullingstone Park Golf Course.

Some of these glorious specimens are believed to be more than 700 years old.

Just think what they've seen - from kings and queens strolling around the former Deer Park to the impact of bombs landing (Lullingstone Park was a dummy airfield in the Second World War) and now the celebratory roars of a hole in one, two, three, four or groans of many more, coming from the new residents - the golfers.

Nationally, ancient trees are at risk, and the problem is growing.

We have to save what is, in my opinion, our heritage, by not only conserving and respecting the ancient trees we still have but starting younger generations with the planting of ancient wonders such as ecstatic English oaks and besotting beeches.

Too many cherries, sorbus, birches are being planted. Now, don't get me wrong, this is a good thing. They're wonderful plants, but we can't forget, space allowing, to plant our much longer living ancient beeches and oaks.

Ho hum Dartford Times readers, back to the garden for the Green Man.

Oh, and before I leave the laptop in the Gatehouse, I've got some exciting news to share with our plant-loving readers.

I've finally managed, for the first time, to induce into flower Aeonium arboretum 'Schwarzkopf' - lots of friends have flowered it but never moi, until now. All that leaves me to do is to shriek with joy..

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