Not since the introduction of a virulent strain of Dutch Elm disease from North America in 1967 have trees been a main news item in the UK but, thanks to the Chalara fraxinea fungus affecting native ash, trees are now in the headlines once again. The first case of ‘Ash Dieback Disease’, which has killed 90% of ash trees in Denmark, was confirmed in the UK in February this year and Government ministers were told in April yet it is only in the last few days that action has been taken. However, it’s all OK because the Government assures us they are taking it ”very seriously”. One grower, claimed to be the biggest grower of native trees in Britain, is suing the Government for £200,000 alleging that early warnings were issued in 2009 but no action taken. The obvious question must be answered: ”why has there been such a long delay before action was taken to prevent the introduction and then the spread of such a virulent disease?”
Saturday dawned bright and sunny. With heavy rain forecast I took my camera for a walk mid morning to visit the American Gardens at the top end of Pontypool Park to look for Autumn colour. ‘Gardens’ is a misnomer, it’s really an arboretum planted in the mid 19th Century with trees from the Americas mainly conifers including sequoia and auracaria (Monkey Puzzle) but also hemlock and oaks. They are now mature, some a considerable size.
The colours were not as vibrant as are maples or cherries at this time of year but there were patches of brightness set off by the gloom of much of the woodland floor which was in deep shade in the low -angled winter sun, unable to rise above the tall densely packed trees.
Just a few images.