Plant a Tree for the Jubilee
31 May 2022

Strawberry Hill House & Garden is delighted to be a part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites communities from across the UK to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.”

We have planted two elm trees – one on the Horseshoe Drive in front of the house and another not far from the iconic Shell Seat. The elm is a wonderful choice for us as Horace Walpole had a number of elm trees in his grounds none of which have survived the ravages of time and the dreaded Dutch Elm Disease. However thanks to efforts to cultivate varieties resistant to the disease, we are were able to take advantage of an offer of two new saplings.

There is a lovely description dated 1771 of Horace sitting on his round tower, the sun is setting and there is a silvery moon rising above an elm. However, the elms seem to have been very accident prone. In 1779 he writes “I have lost two beautiful elms in a row before my windows” and in 1795 he writes about another storm – “it has done me mischief. It has levelled the two tall elms in the meadow beyond the clump of walnut trees and snapped two others short in the grove near the terrace”. Just as disastrous was an infestation of caterpillars which stripped the top of his elms as bare in June as if it were November! Our new trees are planted as closely as we can guess to these locations.

In the 19th century Lady Waldegrave’s summer house was destroyed by a fallen elm tree. Presumably this was where the replacement summer house in St Mary’s grounds is now.

The two specimens planted are Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ planted in the horseshoe and Ulmus ‘Lutece’ planted by the Shell bench.

Ulmus ‘New Horizon’

A strong growing American hybrid with ascendant branches and pyramidal appearance. Good Autumn colour and 8m tall after 20 years.

Ulmus ‘Lutece’ or ‘Nanguen’

A Dutch hybrid introduced to the UK in 2001 as part of a set of experiments to find disease resistant trees suitable for this country. It has proven to grow well here, producing a tall, round headed tree to 10m after 20 years. Good Autumn colour.

The Elms have been supplied by Elms4London.

Written by Carole Tucker, Volunteer

Gardener-in-charge and Volunteer Gardeners

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