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Sidmouth Arboretum

Caring for the trees of the Sid Valley

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Foxglove Tree at Hunters Moon

SVA at Hunters Moon
SVA at Hunters Moon

Early November Sid Vale Association walk, led by Liz Cotton, called in on Hunters Moon Hotel to view their foxglove tree  (Paulownia).

Although the leaves were dropping, the flower buds were visible – ready for magnificent show next May.

MORE PLANTING

Apricot Goldcot Maiden
Apricot Goldcot Maiden
Peace Garden Midland Hawthorn
Peace Garden Midland Hawthorn
Members of Sidmouth Arboretum and the EDDC Parks Improvement Team planted two more trees this morning, an Apricot in Blackmore Gardens and a Midland Hawthorn in the Peace Garden of the Dissenter's Chapel.

Monkey Puzzle Planting

The Planting Team
The Planting Team
Araucaria araucana 1353
Araucaria araucana 1353
Araucaria araucana 1354
Araucaria araucana 1354
We have planted two Monkey Puzzle Trees (Araucaria araucana) in Knowle Park in Station Road.  The trees were sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, thank you to Tina Day for the referral.  The trees are part of the Arboretum's plan to plant trees with links to the fossil records of Jurassic and Triassic times.

STORM DAMAGE

The wreckage
The wreckage
breaks.jpg
breaks.jpg
The large Monterey Pine 1102 in the gardens of Knowle in Station Road lost two of its large branches in a storm during the night of 20th December.  One break was at the point where an epiphytic rhododendron was rooted in the branch which caused a weakness.  EDDC tree officers think they may have to reduce the large branch on the other side of the tree to reduce stress, but they think the main trunk and crown of the tree will go on for years.

TREE PLANTING 05-12-18

Diana and her shrub.
Diana and her shrub.
In it goes.
In it goes.
Graham did much of the work for us.
Graham did much of the work for us.
Sorbus aucuparia
Sorbus aucuparia
Planting in the gardens at Knowle, including an Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Princess Diana' to celebrate the contribution made to the Arboretum over many years by our President, Diana East.  The weather was awful, but that didn't daunt us.  We also planted a Sorbus aucuparia donated by Ed and Jane Dolphin and a Pinus radiata that was rescued from a garden in Cliff Road before it could fall into the sea.

CELEBRATION OF TREES 2018

A good turn out.
A good turn out.
Tracey West - Word Forest
Tracey West - Word Forest
Jon Freeman - Great Trees & Tales
Jon Freeman - Great Trees & Tales
Entertaining Tree Songs
Entertaining Tree Songs
The room was packed.
The room was packed.
Chatting with the National Trust
Chatting with the National Trust
John Wilding MBE - Clinton Devon Estates
John Wilding MBE - Clinton Devon Estates
Sidmouth Arboretum held its annual Celebration of Trees at Kennaway House on 30th November.  A large crowd attended to hear guest speakers talking on a range of topics, see displays from various organisations, hear good singing and story telling, and just chat about trees.  The bar was open, there was a quiz, great to see the young people displaying good knowledge, and a free buffet.  All in all it was a fantastic evening.

Core Hill Walk

Welcome
Welcome
Jill Butler
Jill Butler
Ancient Oak
Ancient Oak
Amazing Beech
Amazing Beech
A former Beech hedge?
A former Beech hedge?
A damp, murky day in November but spirits were lifted by a walk in the woods on Core Hill led by the Woodland Trust's Jill Butler who has a good knowledge of ancient trees.  Several candidates for the Trust's register were identified.

TREE DRESSING 2018

Hanging garlands
Hanging garlands
Keep going Carolyn
Keep going Carolyn
The aryls complement the dressing.
The aryls complement the dressing.
The Team
The Team
Spooky
Spooky
Spooky too
Spooky too
Tree Charter Day 2018 was marked with a tree dressing in the churchyard of Sidmouth Parish Church today.  A group of volunteers from Sidmouth Arboretum decorated one of the yew trees in the churchyard of St Giles and St Nicholas Church.

Labelling

Tree Labelling
Tree Labelling
We have started labelling trees in The Knowle. There are 92 trees to label in The Knowle and 24 in Sidholme. This is an exciting new project for the arboretum, enabling people to identify the tree and get additional information from our website via the QR code. We will be labelling significant trees along our 3 walks when finance allows. 

Festivals

The arboretum attended both Sea Fest and the Science Festival which enabled us to meet more people and talk about the importance of trees. 

Schools Activities

After pupils from St Johns visited Sidholme for their tree identification exercise, we received an invitation to add the trees in St Johns school grounds to the Sidmouth Arboretum database and to work with the children to establish the heights of the trees. 

BLACKMORE FRUIT TREES

Graham digging for victory.
Graham digging for victory.
The Woolbrook Pippin
The Woolbrook Pippin
The Woolbrook Russet
The Woolbrook Russet
Job done Graham
Job done Graham

Working with EDDC, Graham and Jon kicked off this year's planting schedule when they planted fruit trees in Blackmore Gardens today. Two local apple varieties, the Woolbrook Pippin and the Woolbrook Russet were planted against the wall by the health centre. The trees will be trained on the wall as they would have been in times gone by. The team also planted a Rowan and an Apricot will follow soon.

TREE LABELS

label-Diana.JPG
label-Diana.JPG
Giant-redwood-label.jpg
Giant-redwood-label.jpg
As part of the Arboretum's remit to inform and engage the public, we are attaching labels to many publicly accessible trees in the valley.  Each labels tells you the scientific and common name for the tree, but it also includes a QR code.  A QR code is like a super barcode, it contains information about a link to the Arboretum website page for that particular tree.  The code can be scanned with a smartphone app with data access and the link is made to the website with information about the particular tree and further links to wider information about the tree species from organisations such as the Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission and Royal Horticultural Society.
The first labels have been attached to trees in the Knowle.  We will also be labelling trees in Blackmore Gardens, Sidholme and along the Arboretum's Tree Trails.

Schools Activities

This spring we have completed two tree identification days for schools.
The first was for St Johns school in Sidmouth at Sidholme hotel for 30 pupils, using the same format as last year for the primary school.
The second, as part the Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) week at Newton Poppleford school, a day for the whole school in their own grounds. It is very rewarding to be able get the message to the next generation about how important and interesting trees are.

Tree week April 16th -April 21st

The tree week was very successful and we are already planning another for 2019 based on the same walk and talk format. However we are going to move the week back to May to allow a bit more leaf and blossom to come out. We did not anticipate the lateness of spring, although everything seems to growing very fast now.

The latest Woodland Trust magazine “Broadleaf” features an article by one of our speakers, Jill Butler, selecting her favourite ancient oak trees. Unfortunately none of them are within easy reach of Sidmouth the nearest being in Sussex.

Great Oaks and Little Acorns by Ed Dolphin

Thanks to Victorian and Edwardian landowners, Sidmouth has many mature trees and the Park and Gardens around Knowle in Station Road are home to some of the finest and well worth a visit.

This month I want to introduce the oak trees in Knowle.  There are approximately 600 different Oak species and Knowle is home to six of them: English, Sessile, Turkey, Red, Pin and Holm Oaks.

Holm Oaks are easiest to pick out because they are evergreen, with dark green leathery leaves that look a bit like bay leaves.  Leaves on young Holm Oaks have small prickles, hence the scientific name Quercus ilex, which means Holly Oak.  There is a magnificent pair of Holm Oaks in the Lawns area of the Byes and a large one in Powys which faces you as you walk out of Knowle Drive onto Station Road.

There are several English Oaks in Knowle ranging in age up to about 200 years old.  One of two native species, the English Oak is a haven for wildlife from nesting birds to leaf-eating caterpillars.  The leaves are the classic lobed oak tree shape on very short stalks.  A distinguishing feature is that usually there are two small lobes pointing back down the stalk. The English Oak has an alternative name, the Pedunculate Oak, because its acorns are carried on stalks.

The other native species is the Sessile Oak.  Sessile means without a stalk and this refers to the acorns which, unlike the English Oak, are produced very close to the twig.  However, the leaves have longer stalks than those of their Pedunculate cousins, also they do not have the small backward pointing lobes at their base.  Sessile Oaks are much rarer than English Oaks and the only one I can find in Knowle is a youngster aged about 50-70 years that stands by Balfour Lodge.

The largest tree of any type in Knowle is a huge Turkey Oak that stands inside the double gates on Station Road near the concrete base once used for the Folk Festival.  At a height of thirty-four metres (110 feet) and with a trunk diameter of nearly two metres, this tree is about 250 years old.  I defy anyone to stand under this majestic canopy and not to have a sense of awe.  There is a smaller one which has very interesting, deeply cut leaves in the shrubbery behind the large Monterey Pine in the garden of Knowle.  Turkey Oaks can be distinguished by their acorns which take eighteen months to mature and have a hairy cup.  Unfortunately, the Turkey Oak is host to a gall wasp whose larvae damage the acorns of native British oaks.
On the western side of the park and walk car park is a large Red Oak.  It is called a Red Oak because, in its native North America, its large leaves with their pointed lobes turn a glorious red in autumn.  Disappointingly, they tend to just go rusty brown in the UK climate, but this is still a substantial tree.  There are several younger ones around the park.

The sixth species of Oak in Knowle is the Pin or Spanish Swamp Oak.  This has very deeply cut leaves which put on a good show of autumn colour.  There are two beside the large Red Oak, another at the top of the large bank facing Station Road, and a third is struggling amid the brambles and rhododendrons as you enter the gardens at the southern end of Knowle Drive.

You can find out more about the trees in Knowle on this website and the Arboretum’s Sidmouth Town Trail leaflet takes you through Knowle.
English Oak
English Oak
Holm Catkins
Holm Catkins
Holm Oak
Holm Oak
Oak Leaves
Oak Leaves
Red Oak
Red Oak
Turkey Oak
Turkey Oak
Turkey Oak
Turkey Oak
Turkey Oak
Turkey Oak

TREE WEEK

In The Byes with Kevin Croucher
In The Byes with Kevin Croucher
TREE WEEK    16-21 APRIL had an excellent turn out for Ed Dolphin’s talk on the Global Treescape of the Sid Valley, and Jill Butler gave us some fascinating details about ancient and veteran trees.
Saturday 21ST April was the last day of the 2018 TREE WEEK and offered a chance to pop into parks and gardens for a brief introduction to specific trees.        Our grateful thanks to BRADLEYS estate agent for sponsoring the leaflet.
On Friday 20th April a large group enjoyed a sunny and fun walk around the Byes led by Kevin Croucher, of Thornhayes Nursery.    The enthusiastic group members asked lots of questions so we learnt a bit of history of how woodland establishes and also about how old trees hollow out but keep growing, like the sweet chestnut in the Byes.
Our grateful thanks to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust for sponsoring this week.

MEET THE TREES

Exploring among the trees at Sidholme.
Exploring among the trees at Sidholme.
Chairman Jon Ball leads a group around Sidholme.
Chairman Jon Ball leads a group around Sidholme.
Under the Monterey Pines at Sidholme.
Under the Monterey Pines at Sidholme.

Salcombe Regis Tree Walk 16th April 2018

Gathered at the Salcombe Hill viewpoint.
Gathered at the Salcombe Hill viewpoint.
View from the Frog Stone
View from the Frog Stone
Towards Salcombe Regis
Towards Salcombe Regis
A Jolly band of tree afficionados essayed the Salcombe Regis Tree Walk, ably led by Jon Ball

Tips for April and May

After the cold, wet weather at the end of February, any new planting in March will have had a set back, so check the stakes and ties on trees, and check shrubs for wind rock when the gales of March, if they arrive, have shaken the roots of the shrub. It is usually sufficient to firm the soil with your boot.

Hedges can be shaped and made bushier by taking secateurs to the middle twigs, this should encourage new shoots to fill the middle of a hedge. Late flowering shrubs such as buddleia and hydrangea can be pruned back, hard in the case of buddleia and for hydrangea take out a few of the older stems to ground level and prune back the tips to a strong pair of buds to keep a tidy shape.

The excitement of spring is blossom: apples and pears should lighten our days, and of course hawthorn will blossom in May. To get the best from your fruit trees check out Thornhayes Nursery
www.thornhayes-nursery.co.uk/index.php?page=tree-advice
and
www.rhs.org.uk/plants/trees
for pruning guide lines and local courses and for planning your autumn planting now!
Diana East

'Step change' needed to create more woodland

A parliamentary report shows (see BBC report) that planting woodland is not happening fast enough to meet the target of 12% woodland cover 2060.
Jon Ball

We need to plant more trees.

Countryfile 02 Apr 2017
Countryfile 02 Apr 2017
BBC Countryfile devoted much of its episode on Sunday 2nd April to the state of commercial forestry.  The general trend of the coverage was that the UK needs to be planting far more trees than we have in the last few years.  If you missed it then you catch up on the BBC iPlayer.
Ed Dolphin

SCHOOL EVENT at SIDHOLME

Countryfile 02 Apr 2017
Countryfile 02 Apr 2017

Building on the routing of the Sidmouth arboretum town walk through Sidholme, we were able to secure the use of Sidholme's grounds and the music room to set up a tree identification challenge for the children of year 5 at Sidmouth School. Ed Dolphin our treasurer designed the task, which posed a series of yes/ no questions to the children enabling them to identify 8 trees. The weather was lovely and the walk to and from the school gave us a further opportunity to discuss other trees along the route. All in all this was a very successful day for which many thanks to the staff of Sidholme who made us so welcome.

We have been doing more work in Sidholme and have identified 24 species of trees that we hope to make into a leaflet for the site alone. This is being done in conjunction with the The Friends of Sidholme Garden and Sidmouth in Bloom.    Tree identification achieved excellent results and the event is likely to be repeated next spring.


Diana East
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