Chiswick House has lost one of its oldest trees in storm Eunice – a Cedar of Lebanon that was more than two hundred years old.
The Gardens lost four big trees in the storm on Friday (18 February), which is not bad considering there are some 1800 on the 65 acre site. The Cedar of Lebanon was near the Classic bridge.
“The whole top broke off and smashed a Lime tree below” Chiswick House gardeners told The Chiswick Calendar. Both trees were being removed on Saturday.
Georgina Sydenham and Chris Greer were at work on Friday checking the estate and in early on Saturday morning clearing dead wood from the paths.
“Our priority was making sure the paths are open, particularly in the Dukes Avenue entrance so the Duck Pond market could go ahead” said Georgina.
On Saturday a Yew tree was blocking the path between the cricket pitch and the Classic bridge.
“Half of it has sheered off but it will survive” she said.
Another Yew tree by the Italian garden was unsalvageable. The cedars and yews are the oldest trees in the Gardens, along with the Sweet Chestnuts on the bowling green. Some trees date back to the original planting by William Kent in the 1700s.
The fourth tree which was lost in the storm was an Ash tree in the middle of the Wilderness area between Burlington Lane and the south end of the lake. The top sheered off 15 metres up and they will need the assistance of specialist tree surgeons to remove it.
Chiswick House Members pay for tree upkeep
“We invested a lot of money in a tree survey lasts January” Georgina told us. “That gave us a list of priority jobs and we have been working our way through the list. That it took such a vicious storm for us to lose four trees shows that the routine maintenance we have been doing has paid off.”
Chiswick House Trust invests £650 a week on caring for the trees in the Gardens and would like to spend more, to move from maintaining the tree stock to more active tree management to improve the habitat for the mammals, birds and insects living in the woodland areas.
They pay for it by the money raised by Members of Chiswick House. Memberships pay for £4 out of every £5 needed to keep the gates open every day by paying for the overall upkeep of the Gardens.
Members enjoy unlimited visits to the House and Kitchen Garden, discounts at the Shop and Café, and get special access to events. You can sign up to become a member on the Chiswick House website.
Director Xanthe Arvanitakis told us:
“The last few days have been very challenging, all our staff have got stuck in helping to check trees, support the gardeners and manage communications. If it wasn’t for the incredible hard work, skill and diligence of our gardeners and our investment in surveying and caring for our 1,800 trees – the damage could have been a lot worse.”
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