Top ten trees of interest at Beningbrough
The Beningbrough estate dates back to medieval times, stretches over acres of parkland and is home to rare, unusual and characterful trees.
When one of the garden team found out about the tree register, which keeps the records of 'champion trees' - the tallest or widest of each species, they felt sure that there would be some Yorkshire champions at Beningbrough; this started the discussion around other favourite trees in the garden and parkland.
The Victorian pear arch
The lightning oak
Often known as the maidenhair tree and the only surviving species of it's division. It has a distintive leaf shape, described as a bi-lobed fan, making it easily recognisable. It's quite hard to comprehend that some fossils date back 270 million years. Beningbrough's can be found in the lawn close to the East Formal garden and isn't quite as old at around 40.
Duke of Cambridge oak
Fagus sylvatica. The common versions in the garden might not be Yorkshire champions but they stand tall and majestic on the carriageway and can be seen towering above other trees from all angles. In full leaf or as silhouetted branches against a winter sky, you can't help but look up. Arguably at their best in autumn; the colours slowly turn bronze and the leaves litter the floor with their golden tones.
Cydonia ‘Champion.’ Quinces are native to western Asia, this is a variety selected for its large fruit that are ready to pick in Autumn that said they still need to be cooked to make them edible. This tree, planted in 1980, sits at the end of the carriageway dwarfed by the beech trees. With wonderful blush-pink flowers in spring and rough furry foliage followed by large yellow pome fruit that start out furry, becoming smooth in the autumn. The garden team often get asked about this tree, the fruit looking familiar yet strange to many visitors.
The giant redwoods
Sequoiadendron giganteum. There were 16 giant redwoods planted at Beningbrough in the 1890s for the Dawnay family; eight have survived. The redwood was discovered in America during the Victorian era and was very popular, its size having connotations of power and Empire. The British wanted to call it Wellingtonia after the Duke of Wellington, but the Americans favoured Washingtonia. In the end, it was called sequoia after a Native American tribe. One of the Beningbrough redwoods can be seen from the front of the house, and others from the drive in, as you approach from Newton-on-Ouse.
Lime tree avenue
Tilia europaea 'Pallida.’ Another of Beningbrough's well known features is the lime tree avenue leading to the house. The limes in the avenue today however, are not the first ones to be planted on the site. There were originally four rows, two on each side. These were taken out in the late 1980s, as they weren’t coping well with the high water table. The new trees were planted in the early 1990s, just two rows to not obscure the view of the house, and the avenue is now looking nicely established again.