Elm Hunt Stumped!

This being Waterloo Week, I came across an article about Wellington’s Elm, the tree under which he stood during the battle. Unfortunately most UK elms have gone the way of Lord Uxbridge’s leg, lost, not to cannon fire, but to Dutch Elm disease. At Mount Stewart there were some young elm trees planted about three years ago, grown from regenerating tissue from the odd elm that showed some resistance to disease. I went up to Rhododendron Hill this morning to have a look for the saplings but couldn’t see the trees for the wood. Will try and trace them through our GPS system. Watch this space….

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Our trees seem to be as popular with visitors as our flowers. Most are in leaf, with just the odd late riser still in its underwear. They give structure, shelter, and shade to the garden and some have interesting back stories. Not many people know that our statuesque Bay Trees have been around the courtyard since 1923 when they arrived, already 50 years old, wrapped up like huge brollies, trundling across the gravel on horse and cart. It cost just £99.18s.0d. for the lot when Lady Edith ordered them from L P Hartmann of Brussels. Our gardeners keep them trimmed beautifully in their umbrella shape, and I’ll let you into a secret – they do keep you dry on a wet day!

Extract from Lady Mairi's diary showing Bay trees from Belgium at Ghent station, part of the photographic collection at Mount Stewart, County Down. The Bay Trees bought by Lady Londonderry for the garden, were over 50 years old and they were the largest bay trees ever to be moved.

Extract from Lady Mairi’s diary showing Bay trees from Belgium at Ghent station. The Bay Trees bought by Lady Londonderry for the garden, were over 50 years old and they were the largest bay trees ever to be moved. ©NT/A and C Photography

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A favourite of mine is the Cedrus Deodar, sacred to Hindus as the Tree of God, national tree of Pakistan, and remarkable in several ways. If you have asthma, sit under it during the morning and it has beneficial effects. Build a bridge and it won’t rot, store food in a cabinet made of its wood and insects are repelled. A half mile boulevard of Cedrus Deodars  in Altadena, California is called Christmas Tree Lane. The trees have been lighted annually as a Christmas Holiday display since 1920, and it is on the United States National Register of Historic Places. A nice detail for our American visitors. Find it on the right hand side of the path as you go towards the lake. I call it the Friendship Tree because you can shake hands through the hole in the trunk.

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Some of our trees are quite tall and wide. We have tall and spindly Eucalyptus, Turkey Oak, Cork and Lime, and of course many Redwoods. Have a look at Monumental Trees Mount Stewart to find the measurements, otherwise you’ll need a very long tape measure.

Ellen

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