As we left the Oak Avenue behind and after we had enjoyed a quick look at the small Betula collection, we made our way slowly back to the car park. The sky began to get darker and drizzle began to fall. In the first shot included here you can see the bright autumn colours of the Birches through the line of huge pines. Many of them were small and still strongly guarded from the gnawing of the resident deer flock. I have also included a photo of one of the excellent, informative labels which is a great feature of this arboretum.
As the drizzle intensified we found some shelter under the older taller trees. We are not fans of conifers but we found this one fascinating with its long drooping needles. Pinus patula, better known as the Spreading Leaf Pine. Close by the strange but utterly beautiful cerise-flowered Euonymous europaeus glowed in the dull light.
Felled tree trunks afford the weary wanderer a resting place and wildlife a place to search for food. The cut ends revealed the ages of the trees when they were felled, the number of rings now exposed by the chainsaw give away its secrets.
We continued to come across interesting Acers such as this Red Snake-Bark Maple, Acer capillipes and we passed many other fascinating specimen trees on our way to the stand of Redwoods.
We were fascinated by the fruits of the Oriental Hornbeam and the Handkerchief Tree, Davidii involucrata. These two special trees were both fine specimens.
We followed the path as it dipped beneath the branches of the Handkerchief Tree and found ourselves in a different world, a darker world where light failed to penetrate. This meant that nothing grew beneath these Redwoods, giants of the tree world. We walked on a deep soft carpet of needles. The needles were gingery orange and seemed to glow in the gloom.
A drainage ditch cut through the Redwoods. It must have recently flooded badly and eroded away soil exposing the roots of trees growing alongside on its banks. Some creative visitors had found a way across by using some ingenuity and creativity – they had built a bridge from branches.
Below are two pictures showing some unusual wildlife living beneath the Redwoods, on the left a mother bear searching for her youngster climbing a nearby tree and on the right a very rare Tree Hugging Jude the Undergardener.
After exploring the dark world under the Redwoods we were glad to get back into daylight. Even though drizzle continued to fall and grey skies hung heavy it seemed so much brighter under the deciduous trees. The final Acer we passed looked as if it was on fire. A fitting finale to our day at Queenswood. As I always write when we have discovered a new exciting place to visit, “We will definitely be back!”
So that is Queenswood, 64 acres of wonderful trees from all over the world. Follow any of its waymarked trails and you will discover such a huge variety of trees, varying in size, growth habit, leaf shape, bark texture with some bearing flowers followed by berries, seeds or nuts. The bird life keeps you entertained too, singing and calling in the tree tops and undergrowth and flitting from tree to tree seeking out this vast array of food. Throughout our walk Ravens cronked overhead in unison with the gentler mewling of Buzzards. Whenever you visit there will be birds to entertain you and trees to delight the eye.