Batsford Arboretum

A couple of weeks ago I visited Batsford Arboretum, to see their collection of trees in all their autumnal glory. I first visited Batsford two years ago in spring, when their magnolias and cherry blossom blew me away.

Views of the Arboretum

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IMG_7726I was really looking forward to seeing the arboretum at a completely different, but just as beautiful, time of year – it didn’t disappoint in any way.

Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’

Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'

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Acer pubinerve

Acer pubinerve

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IMG_7772It has 55 acres of natural Cotswold countryside and one of the largest private tree collections in the country with almost 3,000 tree varieties.

Ginkgo biloba

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Liquidambar styraciflua

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Close-up

IMG_7688As soon as I stepped into the garden colour hit me from every direction. A fine Ginkgo biloba specimen was like a tower of gold, several Euonymus and Sorbus species had beautiful berries.

Euonymus

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Sorbus pseudohupehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’

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Close-up

Sorbus pseudohupehensis 'Pink Pagoda'

Rhus succedanea

Rhus succedaneaA small woodland area primarily of beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) was very dramatic with a carpet of russet brown leaves on the ground, mirrored in the leaves still hanging in the trees.

Woodland area

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More acers

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IMG_7652The acers truly stole the show however. From a distance every pathway was lit with a splash of red, orange or gold, as I got closer I realised every tree was an acer! Some trees looked like they were on fire in the sunlight.

Acers again

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IMG_7740I became so inspired I even wrote a quick poem! I have a lot of scribblings in my notebook that I haven’t typed up yet. . . here’s the one I wrote at Batsford:

Acer

blood red ‘Bloodgood’

foliage flickering flames

even on the greyest, dankest of days

your colour doesn’t wane

it burns, brighter and brighter

reds and golds

chasing the cold away

a light of life

on this autumn day.

Callicarpa

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Last few acers

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IMG_7769The arboretum was a truly sensational display of colour, I always think autumn is the farewell party nature throws until spring. . . and everyone’s invited. I hope you enjoyed the photos. 🙂

NaBloPoMo_2015

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PGG Study Tour of the Algarve – Ancient Trees

This is another post about the time I spent in Portugal earlier this year. To read the first post in this series please click here.

300 year old carob. . . and me! 

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Throughout our week in the Algarve Rosie took us to see some absolutely breathtaking ancient trees. The first two were a 300 year old Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) and a 1,000 year old olive (Olea europaea), both in the same place near São Brás. The carob was pretty special, I couldn’t get over the width of the trunk!

1,000 year old olive

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Selfie!

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But the very old olive really blew me away. The trunk was gnarled and so thick, olives are extremely slow growers so to see one at that size was magnificent.

PGG trainees

Old olive PGG group

We then drove into the centre of São Brás and saw a 650 year old Quercus ilex subsp. rotundifolia, in a patch of ground right in the middle of a housing estate. Rosie told us the planning authorities had been very considerate of the tree and had built all the new flats around it, trees are valued highly in Portugal.

650 year old oak

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Selfie!

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It was an unbelievable specimen, the structure and shape was amazing. The canopy was so vast, sitting underneath it and feeling the shade it provided was perfect on such a hot day. I’d be pretty happy if I had a tree like that just outside my front door!

PGG trainees

Old oak PGG group

The last tree we saw was another phwoaar! sight. We drove to a citrus grove in Moncarapacho and saw a carob tree to end all carob trees. It was between 650 – 1,000 years old, the size of it was sensational. Part of the trunk was hollow, it was so large I could actually fit inside it quite comfortable! The crown was 25 metres across, the scale of it made a really dramatic impact on the landscape.

650 – 1,000 year old carob

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Selfie!

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All of us PGG trainees were into tree porn, I was amazed at the ancient trees we had seen. It made me realise how young and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of nature, very poignant moments and more special memories were made seeing those ancient trees.

NaBloPoMo_2015