Head Gardener Andy Mills chooses his five favourite Painshill trees
A landscape garden is not just for summer! A stunning display of colour makes Painshill a beautiful day out in autumn.
As the leaves turn, the acorns fall and the air becomes crisper Andy Mills, Painshill’s Head of Estates and Landscape, tells us about his five favourite Painshill trees
“Do I have to pick just 5? There are so many I love. Ok, here goes…
I could start with The Great Cedar but the problem is everybody starts with The Great Cedar. It’s the largest multi-stemmed cedar in Europe and so you can’t miss it and it gets a lot of attention. Instead, I am going to say the Cork Oak in the Amphitheatre. We know it was planted by Hamilton, the designer of Painshill, so is over 200 years old. Its bark is normally used for corks, hence the name, so it seems fitting that he planted close to the vineyard. It is evergreen however, so it will not give you autumn colour.
If it is colour you are seeking you must not miss the Red Oak very close to the Keyhole Plantation. It is my screensaver I love it so much. It stands out on the top of the slope and is the most stunning red at the end of the year. It’s also a Hamilton-era tree. Garden creators at that time would buy in plants from overseas. They would arrive in boxes after months on a ship and the designer wouldn’t know what plants were in the box or whether they had survived the journey. Hamilton would buy seeds and boxes from renowned collector John Bartram – this tree was probably one of them and came over from North America in the 18th century.
For my third I would like to mention the Hornbeam by the Mausoleum. It is surrounded by yew trees so stands out against their green when its foliage becomes bright yellow. If visitors look closely they will see it is pictured in the painting on the information board. The painting, from the 18th century, shows the tree as a sapling and I like the reminder of how long it has been there.
Another favourite are the trees very close to it – two extremely large Taxodiums by the water’s edge. They are stunning because of the reflections they cast into the water. Originally from The Everglades in Florida they thrive by the lake and these particular specimens are over 250 years old.
I have already mentioned two oaks however, there is another one I should add. The one near the Five Arch Bridge is a proper veteran and actually pre-dates Hamilton and the designing of Painshill. As do others like the London Planes along the river edge.
I also love the Cedar of Lebanon on Grotto Island. It might not be as big as The Great Cedar but I like where it is situated casting reflections onto the lake.
Oh, I have gone over five haven’t I…
I hope you can come and see them and many others for yourself this autumn!”