Monday, 27 August 2012

Two busy weeks

The diversity of tree shapes, textures and colours in the central part of the arboretum.
I've now been in post as Director of the Castle Howard Arboretum trust for two weeks, which have flown by as I try to get know and understand the place - and the people who make it happen. It has been fascinating, though I'm sure I'll need to ask the same questions several times before all the information I've been told sinks in. There is a great deal to know about a place this size - though even the size of the arboretum is not entirely clear to me yet! Some say 130 acres, others say 150, but it is certainly large and rather lovely. In addition to the Arboretum proper there is the smaller area (about 20 acres) of Ray Wood, situated adjacent to Castle Howard, in which the trust has the responsibility of maintaining the collections. In future I will write more about these areas, and their collections, but these are a few annotated photos taken in the past fortnight.

Hydrangea paniculata under the high tree canopy in Ray Wood, part of Jim Russell's original plantings from the 1970s.

Jan Hoyland, who is responsible for the rehabilitation of Ray Wood under funding from the Monument Trust, with volunteers at the end of another day clearing overgrown laurels. The trust is heavily dependent on volunteers for many aspects of its activities.

Dr Paul Evans of Buglife: the Castle Howard Arboretum is a partner organisation with Buglife in an ambitious project to restore permanent, biodiverse lowland meadow vegetation to various sites in North Yorkshire, which should bring a lot of interest to the currently rather dull arboretum grassland. More info on the B-Lines project is available on the Buglife website.

A grove of Metasequoia glyptostroboides: the arboretum is large enough to enable generous groups of trees to be planted.

Sata Pond - a natural wetland of great interest.

A cone of Picea purpurea.


  1. John, how close can one or should one plant metasequoia as I have planted countless numbers of these trees here. I gave them roughly 5m between each one. But some are closer and others much further apart to allow the magnolia and ginkgo etc some room.They are not growing as fast as I had hoped! But are doing well. But will they ever spread out and form a canopy? This is what I really want. Maybe I should plant closer?

  2. I know this is probably a stupid question John, but for what reason is the
    cone of Picea purpurea that wonderful colour?

  3. The hydrangea scene is lovely. Thank you for posting it.

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