Yorkshire Arboretum Newsletter - Issue 2 - August 2013





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Inside this issue:

Bulb planting - help



...and bulbs for sale 2

Yorkshire Arboretum


News from Ray


Wild About Wood






What a contrast between this summer and

last! When I arrived here a year ago (and for

months afterwards) much of the arboretum

was a terrible quagmire, but this year we

and the trees have basked in beautiful warm

sunshine. There hasn’t even been enough

rain to test our new drainage lines – I hope

those aren’t famous last words!

Having been here now for a full year I’ve had

the chance to see the arboretum through a

cycle of seasons, which has been a great

pleasure. On a site of this size there is a lot

to see and explore and I strongly

recommend that you vary the route you take

on each visit. Even going the opposite way

round helps one see things in a new light.


During the next couple of weeks the

electricity cables that cut across the western

end of the arboretum will be removed,

greatly improving the views across to the

sandbanks and avoiding damage to the

collection. With the UK Champion of the

extremely rare Abies hickelii, and many

other interesting specimens growing below

the lines we couldn’t risk having them

lopped indiscriminately by a line

maintenance team.

New cables have already been buried

underground along our boundary, where

August 2013

Preparations are in full swing for the fifth

Wild About Wood festival, our largest annual

fundraising event. Entry for members is, as

always, complimentary so we hope you’ll be

able to join us over the weekend.

We’re also putting the finishing touches to a

varied programme of events and activities

that will run through the autumn, giving the

opportunity to learn more about the

arboretum, its plants and wildlife, or maybe

a new skill. More details are overleaf and on

the arboretum’s website. I hope you’ll find

much of interest in this programme and look

forward to welcoming you on your next visit.

John Grimshaw


they should stay safely out of sight and mind

for many years. We’re extremely grateful to

Northern Power Grid for carrying out this

work free of charge, and doing it so carefully.

Members’ coffee


What’s On at a


Horticultural lecture


Seasonal highlights:

The Director’s






Volunteering 4


As part of our policy to enhance the biodiversity of our grassy areas, and to

reduce the labour and cost of mowing, we significantly reduced the areas

mown this spring. The result has been the appearance of wildflowers in many

new areas. On the sandbanks harebells have been flowering beautifully,

although they’ve never previously been recorded here, and many orchids

appeared in unsuspected places too. Narrow pathways have enticed visitors

into different parts of the arboretum, encouraging exploration of its many corners. Now the

hay has been taken by the Fargher family: it will be used for winter feed for their Aberdeen

Angus cattle, whose meat is available from the Castle Howard Farm Shop.

Prunings from the



The next phase of the Buglife sponsored wildflower project is

underway. We have sprayed areas of grassland to remove the coarse

grasses, and will soon scarify it and sow it with a flower-rich seed

mixture. Parts of the arboretum will look a bit piebald for a while,

but will soon green-up, and be much more attractive in the future.

Yorkshire Arboretum Members’ Newsletter

Page 2


We have again ordered a large number of

bulbs to beautify the arboretum in spring,

and are looking for help to get them planted.

Last year a large number of volunteers had a

lot of fun helping us plant 35,000 bulbs in

only four days – can we beat that record this

year? The resulting display of flowers really

looked lovely this spring.

comfortable with, and whatever clothing you

like gardening in. Please let the Volunteer

Coordinators know if you can help on


Bulb planting days are scheduled for 24th,

25th & 26th September and the 16th & 17th

October. Could you join us and plant a few –

or many - on any of those days? You’d need

to bring a trowel or spade you’re


We are offering members the opportunity to

add some of these bulbs to their own

gardens. We buy the highest grade of bulbs

direct from Holland, giving the best chance

of success when planted in the garden.

Camassia leichtlinii ‘Caerulea’

This is the lovely deep blue camassia

used so spectacularly in the

arboretum. A great feature in the

border or naturalised in grass.

Flowers in May & June. 10 for £5

Iris latifolia ‘King of the Blues’

This gorgeous iris produces large

velvety blue-purple flowers in June

or early July and looks magnificent

among grass: it was a great addition

to the arboretum last year. 5 for £3

Crocus ‘Ruby Giant’

One of the brightest & best of the

smaller crocuses. The variety used for

our 2010 world record-beating

planting in the arboretum. 30 for £3

Fritillaria meleagris

Purple & white fritillaries for

naturalising or planting among other

spring flowers: will seed around

once established. April. 20 for £3.50

Narcissus poeticus ‘Recurvus’

The elegant, sweetly-scented

‘Pheasant’s-eye’ daffodil, flowering in

May. Lovely when planted in grass

and great for cutting. 10 for £4.50

Please pre-order at the Visitor Centre (email

visit@yorkshirearboretum.org or call 01653

648598) for collection in mid-September.


We will shortly be opening a small retail

area in the Visitor Centre, selling a range of

merchandise to encourage visitors of all

ages to engage with and learn about the

natural world, and to raise additional funds

for the arboretum.

The range will evolve over time, and vary

with the seasons.

We look forward to your feedback on this

exciting development.


The effort put in by staff and volunteers

over the past three years to reclaim Ray

Wood and its collection has paid off with a

fabulous, and continuing, display of

rhododendrons this spring and summer, but

the green-ness of the woodland garden is

lovely even without flowers. If you’d like to

help maintain Ray Wood, volunteers for the

Tuesday team are being sought.

Sadly two big Nothofagus have died and had

to be felled, but their logs will be used by

the chainsaw carvers at Wild About Wood.

Harry Kingman has again very kindly created a range of Christmas Cards and a 2014

calendar, all featuring views of the Yorkshire Arboretum. These are now on sale in the

Visitor Centre with all proceeds going directly to support the arboretum.

August 2013 Page 3


All our visitors’ favourite demonstrations and

activities return for this, our 5th Wild About Wood

Festival, and we’ve added lumberjack displays,

laser clay pigeon shooting, and garden furniture

made from reclaimed whisky barrels amongst

other things!

Families can enjoy several new activities in the

Discovery Zone too, including Bug & Bee Hotel

Making, Natural Music, and Pond-dipping and

Minibeast Hunts for pre-school children.

Flyers and posters advertising the event are

available from the Visitor Centre and your help in

promoting the festival in your village, workplace,

car, church etc would be enormously appreciated.

Entry for members is, as always, complementary,

so we look forward to seeing you there! Full

details at www.wildaboutwood.org

As our biggest fundraising event of the year, Wild

About Wood’s success depends on the 100+

volunteers who give so generously of their time to

make sure that every visitor has a great time. If

you’d like to help, please contact the Volunteer





On the first Wednesday of each

month, join a member of the staff

team for a cup of coffee, an

informal presentation and

perhaps a short walk into the arboretum to see

what projects they're working on.

We meet in the Arboretum Café and

presentations start at 11.30 so buy your coffee in

good time!

Coffee morning hosts for the autumn are:

Wednesday 4th September: John Grimshaw

Wednesday 2nd October: Neil Batty

Wednesday 6th November: Nicola Hall

Sun 1st Sept 10am & 2pm Bushcraft: A Beginners' Guide

Weds 4th Sept 11.30am Members' Coffee Morning: John Grimshaw

14th/15th Sept 10am – 5pm Wild About Wood Festival

Thurs 19th Sept 1 hour slots

Thurs 19th Sept 7.30pm

An Introduction to Woodturning

History & Collections of Arboretum Wespelaar:

Dr Koen Camelbeke

Sun 29th Sept 10am & 2pm Bushcraft: A Beginners' Guide

Weds 2 nd Oct 11.30am Members' Coffee Morning: Neil Batty

Sat 12th Oct 4pm – 6pm Fungus Foray led by Malcolm Greaves

Thurs 10 th Oct


Woody Plant Propagation:

Barry Clarke

Fri 18th Oct 1pm – 7pm Capture Autumn's Colours – Watercolour Class

Sun 27th Oct

Tues 29th Oct

10.30am & 2pm Members' Tour of Ray Wood

10.30am & 2pm Members' Tour of Ray Wood

Thurs 31st Oct 2pm – 4pm Fungus Foray led by Malcolm Greaves

Weds 6 th Nov 11.30am Members' Coffee Morning: Nicola Hall

Thurs 14 th Nov


Finding David Douglas:

Dr Gordon Mason

Thurs 26th Dec 10.30am-3pm Winter Welly Walks

Weds 1st Jan 10.30am-3pm Winter Welly Walks

More details for all

events can be found on

the website and in the

Visitor Centre.

Updates will be sent by

email, or please check

the What’s On board in

the Visitor Centre on

your next visit.


Our series of horticultural lectures recommences

in September, starting at 7.30pm in the Visitor

Centre. Please book at the Visitor Centre - £3.50

per talk. More information is on the website.

19th September: Dr Koen Camelbeke presents on

the history and collections of Foundation

Arboretum Wespelaar

(FAW), Belgium, of

which he is Director.

FAW is one of our most

generous supporters

and Koen will also be

spending a couple of

days with us to see how we use their grants. (NB

this talk is a week later than usual, to avoid Wild About Wood)

10th October: Barry Clarke, a horticulturalist &

botanist from the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in

Hampshire, will talk about woody plant

propagation – a subject of great importance in an

arboretum – including a practical demonstration.

14th November: Dr Gordon Mason, a botanist

from Sheffield, will present his film Finding David

Douglas, about the intrepid plant hunter whose

adventures in western North America brought so

many plants into cultivation.

Brochure design: www.marketingbyignite.com

August 2013 Page 4


The long warm and mostly dry summer has been

good not only for trees but also for insects, and

from a dearth of butterflies and bees in the past

few cool years we have seen a resurgence in

numbers and diversity.

Last week the scent of a

lime-tree was wafting about

on the breeze and I tracked

it down to the grove of

weeping silver limes, Tilia

tomentosa ‘Petiolaris’

growing just beyond Main

Vista. It’s known as one of

the most fragrant of lime-trees and the delicious

scent had attracted not only me but a myriad of

insects of all kinds that was wonderful to see.

Peacock butterflies have

been particularly abundant

recently, taking advantage

of all sorts of flowers, from

water mint by the lake to

thistles and the lime-trees.

The ground has remained

moist enough through the hot weather to enable

the trees to put on excellent growth: I find it a real

pleasure to see new shoots elongating. In many

trees, especially oaks, new growth is red-tinted,

and it is thought that this helps to reduce insect

attacks while the shoot is soft and vulnerable.

From our perspective, however, it can be a very

ornamental feature, and one worth looking out

for as you walk through the arboretum.


We have 170 enthusiastic volunteers who

together have now given over 4,000 hours of their

time since the start of the 2013 season to support

the work of the arboretum.

Their continued efforts to

welcome visitors, keep the

grounds looking attractive

and well cared for, engage

visiting school groups and

generally support the staff

team are much appreciated.

We are always looking to increase our volunteer

team and have produced a recruitment poster for

display in local villages and libraries. If you could

display a poster, or have other ideas to help reach

more potential volunteers, please get in touch at


We’re particularly keen to add to our Visitor

Services team. If you, or someone you know,

might like to be part of the welcoming face of the

arboretum, please have a look at the role

description on the Volunteering page of the web

site or just get in touch.

We hope this

newsletter is


informative and

helps you gain

the most from


membership of

the Yorkshire


Please send

your feedback,

together with

your photos,


Iain Parkinson, Conservation and Woodlands

Manager from Wakehurst Place visited in July said

how healthy our trees look, which in general they

do – long may they remain so!

Did you know that the arboretum starred in the

cinematic trailer for, and live action sequences in,

this year’s summer production of The Legend of

King Arthur at York Theatre Royal? Enjoy some

familiar sights at www.youtube.com/watch?


Volunteers and staff were recently trained on the

safe use of strimmers and the chipper, enabling us

to get more done as we tidy up the arboretum.

A boy on a school visit pulled up a large Swan

Mussel from the lake bed while pond-dipping:

small specimens had been seen before but this

was 15 cm long!

We’re all familiar with James Morris’ sculpture of

an osprey in the lake, but Alastair Fitter, our Chair

of Trustees, was lucky enough to see a migrating

osprey fly overhead, when visiting in late August.

Castle Howard


YO60 7BY

p: 01653 648598

e: members@yorkshirearboretum.org

w: www.yorkshirearboretum.org

The Yorkshire Arboretum is indebted to the many talented photographers whose work illustrates these pages. These include, amongst others, Harry & Joyce Kingman,

John Grimshaw, Ron Cooke and Roy Howell. All photos & illustrations remain © of their respective copyright owners and are used with permission.

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