The trees of Westbury Court Garden
Take a walk aroung Westbury Court Garden and you'll spot some of the oldest, rarest and tallest trees in the country.
The mighty Holm oak
Reputably over 400 years old, it is thought that the Holm oak at Westbury is one of the oldest in the country. This means that the tree would have been planted around the time that Charles I came to the throne and pre-dates the creation of the garden.
Some of the branches of this tree have been braced to help it support its own weight and prevent branches from snapping. This tree is a very important specimen and so we're keen to protect it. Having said that, it is a very healthy tree and still grows vigorously. It is home to a wealth of wildlife, a testament to its importance aside from its age and status.
Introduced to Britain in the late 1500s, the Holm differs from most oaks in that the leaves are spiny, like holly, and it is evergreen, keeping its leaves all year.
The black poplar
The black poplar is a very rare tree; there are less of them in the UK than there are wild pandas in China.
Most wild growing black poplars are male and so they do not reproduce easily; this is one of the contributing factors to them being so rare.
There are 15 black poplars at Westbury, more than at any other National Trust place.
According to Greek mythology, the black poplar was created after Phaeton’s fatal attempt to drive Apollo’s chariot. Phaeton’s sisters made such a nuisance of themselves mourning his death that the gods decided to change them into black poplars.
It is also said that the bright red fallen catkins are called Devil's fingers and bring bad luck if picked up.
The tall tulip tree
It is thought that Westbury Court Garden's tulip tree is one of the tallest specimens in the country.
It is no relative of the tulip flower, but is named for the shape of its flowers and the shape of its leaves which resemble its namesake. It is part of the magnolia family of plants.
Planted in living memory, this tree is only a few generations old; it is a very fast growing species.
This stunning tree bursts into glorious flower in June. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture this splendid sight.