Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ancient Yews

One of the most impressive sights we saw on our trip to Wales this Fall were the ancient Yew trees that we found in a number of places. The largest of these were in church yards that were allowed to grow into great towers that threw the cemetery into deep shade.
But others found in gardens were carefully groomed, but with age, had taken on an asymmetry that followed the wishes of Nature rather than that of the gardener.

These old yews in Powys Castle were not the largest or even the oldest, but they date back to at least 1743 when they were included in a drawing of the castle and gardens.

This is the trunk of one of the yews that makes up the yew tunnel at Aberglasney Gardens and this too is thought to be planted in the eighteenth century.

This shows how a row of Yew was bent over and trained into a tunnel.

This is one of the Yews surrounding Capel-Y-Ffin which has been described as 'squatting like a stout grey owl among its seven great black yews'.

In this picture my friend Vicky helps give some sense of the scale of this Yew in Nevern Church in Dyfed.


Garden muses said...

There is something spiritual about these "old guys", the way the trunks and bark speak to you of another time. Unfortunately, many yews are contorted into meatballs or other polygons, showcased around here as "foundation" plants, which is a shame.

Thank you for posting, Barry!

Barry Parker said...

HI Paul,
You're right, there is something spiritual about these senior citizens. I forgot to mention in the post that the trees in the Nevern Church yard are supposed to bleed when pruned( I suspect that this is reddish sap running).

Not sure what is worst, the contorted meatballs or the foundation plantings that are allowed to grow and end up dwarfing the house. I hate to think what this does to the foundation itself!

gardenbre said...

I remember seeing what was supposed to have been the oldest ancient yew in the whole entire world in Oaxaca (I wonder if that was really true about the yew)?

Gardeningbren said...

I adored Powys; the yews were spectacular. So far, think it is my favourite of all the gardens visited in GB. There really is something spiritual about those old Yew bones, bark like ancient skin. Lovely photos.

Barry Parker said...

Hi Gardenbren,

Powys is a big fave of mine too. I could spend days there.