Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quercus Ilex (Holm Oak)

On a recent trip to Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire.

Its a 16th Century Dutch Water Garden and apparently the only one of its kind in the UK and Holland.... Who knew!

Lived in Gloucestershire for years, drove passed it hundreds of times and had, before this trip, never set foot inside.

The most wonderful tree lives in this garden. the Holm Oak, an evergreen Oak tree.
Its over 400 years old and so beautiful I couldn't resist doing a post on it.

The boys (James and Alex) stood in front so that I could demonstrate just how big and imposing this tree is.

The pictures below give a wider view of the tree. The one on the right shows how the boughs of the tree are pulling themselves down. The National Trust have 'wired' some of the main boughs together so that they don't literally snap off. I guess old trees get artificial help in their dotage to keep them alive longer.

As you can see with 'littlie' in front the trunk is immense and covered in aged and knarly bumps. It just oozes age and venerability. It seemed literately to be alive as I walked around and touched it! Amongst the bumps and lumps the tree had holes that burrowed deep into its heart, some large enough to take a domestic cat. How deep they go? what lies within?

This tree I don't wonder has a whole civilisation of its own, living and surviving in partnership with the tree, bugs, birds and mammals. High in the canopy there was a massive nest, which may be a rookery.

The pictures below don't show the tree off as well as standing in front of it. It looks like something from Lord of The Rings ~ 'Treebeards Grandfather'!

Old signs of tree surgery are present and how the tree is growing around these old surgical scars; scar tissue.

Growths are massive; as a cabinet maker a small part of me wants to cut a slice and see what the wood pattern looks like..... a small part! this part of a tree can produce the most wonderful burrs.

Sphearoblast city: This beautiful specimen has countless sphearoblasts. However this is a National Trust property and this old fella deserves to be left in peace.

I can only dream of how magical the sphearoblasts are to carve and own!! but responsible approaches to harvesting prevents me from taking even one. I do not condone anyone taking from any Trust property or other ornamental gardens; and in fact
I don't tend to take from ancient trees, some sense of not annoying a venerable tree or Woodwose.

Thought I would show the leaves as they are remarkably different from a standard oak. As said this is an evergreen variety.

As said previously this tree is its own eco system. one of the lifeforms hosted by the tree are some beautiful fungi, see below. They are wonderful and very hard to touch; they resemble some forms of sea life like corals.

Lying on the floor at the base of the tree was this lovely old headstone that was obviously for a much loved pet. I guess no one knows where this fella is buried but I thought it fitting that his headstone lay next to a tree he may have 'cocked his leg on'!

I hope you enjoy the tree and this meagre post to try to show him in his beauty. If you get the chance go and visit him yourself. I will be back and may drop a small carving down a deep hole.

Comments are more than welcome.

Regards Dave

1 comment:

ChuckT said...

That is one VERY spectacular tree. Thanks for sharing it.