Archive for October, 2010

Tree Team Work at Westonbirt, by Andy Jane, Operations Support Officer

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

October at Westonbirt is a very busy time for us all, especially the tree team. Along with the seasonal added car parking and admissions work we still have to under take our usual duties.

At the moment we are undergoing our health and safety tree assessments. This is to insure that any tree that is within striking distance of the path gets a good health check and is safe. If there is a problem with a tree then it would be added to our list of potentially hazardous trees so that we can keep a close eye on it in the years to come. Unfortunately in most cases the tree may become too hazardous to leave over time and needs to be removed.

Victory Glade is our focus at the moment for section work. We carry out every thing from weeding to the removal of big trees, some of which may be part of the health and safety tree work and some may be removed to make space for new plantings.

Long grass cutting is taking place in Silk Wood this month; this is an end of year tidy up and should help the wild flowers get a good start next year. Our short grass cutting should be coming to an end in November, bringing another year of sward management to an end.

A Fundraising Update by Nick Healey, Project Fundraising Manager

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Fundraising for the Westonbirt Project is an interesting role in these times of austerity.  I’ve had several responses to funding requests along the lines of, “Many thanks for your application. It looks like a terrific project, but….” 

There are lots of reasons why donors are unable to fund any projects at this time; many smaller trusts have had to consolidate their financial positions after seeing their stock portfolios crash; some have changed their funding priorities to support charities hit by public spending cuts, particularly in the education sector and there are others who really would like to support us, but simply don’t have the money at the moment.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. We have had a £30,000 pledge from the 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust which will be used to build new ha-ha walls along the edge of the Downs, using craftsmen to train a small army of volunteers. We have also managed to entice a previously generous donor back to the Arboretum in a couple of weeks to learn more about the project and see the proposed sites for the new Welcome Building and the Walkway.  

Communications from the larger trusts have indicated that their giving capacity has not diminished, so I will continue applying to them over the next few months and expect some substantial support to be forthcoming by the spring.

My top ten (oops, twelve) favourite maples, by Hugh Angus, Head of Collections

Friday, October 15th, 2010

With so many to choose from, I can’t help but add a couple more examples to my top ten! I hope visitors to Westonbirt this autumn can enjoy identifying these maples on their walks:
1. Acer griseum, paper bark maple. From China. 50 ft tall 20 ft across with great bark and fantastic autumn colour.  The best trees are on Mitchell and Broad Drives.
2. Acer davidii, snake bark maple. From China. 40 ft tall 25 ft across, with great bark and good butter yellow in autumn.
3. Acer capillipes, snake bark maple. From Japan. 30 ft tall 15 ft across, with excellent autumn colour.  Good examples can be found outside Maples restaurant and along Holford Ride.
4. Acer circinatum, vine maple. From Western USA. 30 ft tall 30 ft across, with lovely autumn colour and attractive small flowers in spring.
5. Acer micranthum (no common name). From Japan. 20 ft tall 15 ft across. Very beautiful bright red colour in autumn. The best trees are to be found in The Link.
6. Acer palmatum ‘Westonbirt Red’. A Japanese maple cultivar. 20 ft tall 20 ft across, with fabulous red autumn colour.  Best examples are in The Link
7. Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’. A Japanese maple cultivar. 20 ft tall 20 ft across, with vibrant fabulous red autumn colour. This example colours earlier than ‘Westonbirt Red’ and the best trees are in and around the Acer Glade area.
8. Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’. A Japanese maple cultivar with fabulous pale yellow leaves for several weeks in the spring. Autumn colour is okay but not particularly good.  The best examples will be in the National Maple Collection, west of Broad Drive.
9. Acer palmatum ‘Eddisbury’. A Japanese maple cultivar. 22 ft tall 25ft across, with leaves that are a lovely butter yellow with red tinges in the autumn and coral red stems in winter.  Visit the National Maple Collection for good examples.
10. Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu. A Japanese maple cultivar. 30 ft tall 30 ft across, producing lovely dissected leaves all year. Autumn colour is late with a mixture of reds, yellows and golds. Visit the National Maple Collection for good examples.
11. Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’. A Japanese maple cultivar selected from the full moon maple. 40 ft tall and 40 ft across, displaying every colour you can imagine in autumn.  Some vibrant examples will be seen on Holford Drive and the end of Mitchell Drive.  They start colouring early and some are in show now.
12. Acer x conspicuum ‘Silver Vein’. A hybrid snake bark maple. 40 ft tall 40 ft across, with fabulous bark and large leaves that turn bright yellow in the autumn. See the best examples in The Link, towards the west end.