Photo taken by Mark, Head Gardener- 28/10/15


A good bye to the old and a hello to the new

It’s quite a sad thing to cut down a tree, especially one that is hundreds of years old. Some trees are destined to be felled when they reach their maximum useful size. We have pines that I wouldn't weep over being felled, that doesn't mean I'd enjoy it, however most trees that are useful for timber purposes are older than me.

So when it came to make the decision to de-limb (and effectively kill) a 300+ year old Beech, it was not something that we took lightly. A decision about 3 years in the making, but made for the right reasons; Safety. In all seriousness, trees can be dangerous organisms. They can easily hold literally tons of weight in their smallest branches and even "healthy" limbs can drop given the right weather conditions. So having a tree that is rotting from the inside out is something that we simply cannot ignore, especially being open to the public.

There was a double whammy of fungal infections that have made this tree decline faster in its old age. Porcelain Fungus (Oudemansiella mucida) was eating away at the branches causing them to rot and suffer from advanced branch drop and Giant Polypore (Meripilus giganteus) was eating away at the roots, creating a real threat of wind throw, i.e. the tree falling over completely. Needless to say those are the two fungi that we identified, but there were probably dozens of pathogens and fungi affecting the Beech owing to its poor health.

With all that being said I'm going to let the pictures do the rest of the talking before I get on to some happier news! 
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As I mentioned in my previous blog our new arrivals are now here! I seem to have brought in more livestock than I have plants in my first 8 months and I'm desperately trying to avoid getting the nickname of the "Birdman of Arley."

The picture below shows our 5 new Peacocks. Mum and dad are the two up front and to the left, and the 2 daughters (both pure white) and the son at the back and to the right. They will have another month or so penned up before we can release them into the gardens and arboretum, otherwise they will simply try and fly back to where we got them! Once they realise that this is their home they will be a splendid sight wandering round the gardens at Arley.

Despite what some people think they aren't dangerous at all and even though they can be a little scary when they spread their tail feathers (which can reach 8ft wide!) they won’t do you any harm at all. They are pretty much a big chicken after all. 
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I took the picture below a few days ago and its still looking great for the Autumn. Liquidambar is one of the few trees that will trump the Maples for autumn colour, so much so, it is often mistaken for one with its palmate leaves and traffic light colours.


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I'll catch up with you all in my next blog! Sorry it’s been 3 weeks since the last one, I couldn't believe it when I was told, time is definitely flying by in what has been the busiest weeks of the year so far.


I keep harping on about it, but the colour in the trees is really starting to kick in. In fact a few of the smaller Acers are already starting to drop their leaves so if your planning a visit now is a great chance to see the contrast in trees as some are well under way and others are just about starting...




You may have noticed the chill in the air, or the slight change in colour of some of the trees, or maybe flowers gradually starting to fade, but Autumn is now officially here!


We still have a few days of great weather ahead of us though, so expect to see a few confused plants flowering for a second time!

Monday 7 September 2015

With summer officially ending on the 23rd of September we still have a while to bask in the glory of the English summertime.

With today being the first day back at school it measn that things will go quiet again in the Arboretum for a while. If you were looking for a peaceful time to visit now is your chance!