NANTWICH WALLED GARDEN - 4

A sign of things to come in walled garden?

  May 2017

 

 

 

 

 

This tree, seen in the Nantwich Walled Garden in Byron Walk, Nantwich, was an unusual sight as it was surrounded by what is otherwise a "jungle". But, could this - or one like it - be seen in the walled garden once it is restored?

I SPOTTED this tree just inside the small entrance in the east wall of the Nantwich Walled Garden (no trespassing was needed) and wondered if it could be a omen about how the Elizabethan garden will look when it is restored. 

   I hadn't seen it there previously - just the "jungle" of overgrown plants.

   It did strike me as a little odd that the tree appeared to be in a clear space in the jungle rather than it being part of that jungle.

    Did it just grow there? Did it self-seed (if trees can do that)? Whatever happened it is certainly better than the jungle that is there at present. See this page.

   I asked Nantwich landscape gardener and plants expert Alderman Doug Butterill what it was and he told me it's an Acer Palmatum Atropurpureum.

 

   According to my book of plant names that's an evergreen tree with hand-like leaves. There are a number of different varieties of Acer Palmatums

   But best of all, when I checked a book based on John Gerard's "Herball", I saw that the Nantwich-born herbalist lists the Acer (the Latin name) or Maple (the English name), as he described it, as one of the plants that were growing in gardens in his days and so possibly that of the Townsend House gardens.

   A website search confirmed that the walled garden plant was a Japanese Maple, some of which grow up to eight metres high with a spread of 10 metres.

   I'm not for one minute suggesting the Nantwich tree is a descendant of a tree that once grew in the Townsend House gardens! But it makes it a good contender for a place in the restored garden.

 

An omen? Not a good one!

IF the appearance of the acer/maple in the garden spoke volumes as an omen for the walled garden as a public attraction, things have changed.

   I returned to the site at the end of August and there was no sign of the tree. Nettles had spread over where it had been but, no, they were not hiding the acer which would still have been showing had it been there.

   What happened to it is a mystery. Has someone taken it to keep it safe and then to offer it back to the garden when it is restored?

   Or did someone think that it was going begging? Surely not. The on-line price for an acer is 8.95 (September 2017).

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