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The Hankies are out!

Added 6 yearss ago

Loveliest of trees….

The other day I gave a brief welcoming talk to a coach party. The sun was shining and the garden was literally sparkling so I knew they would be seeing Trebah at its very best. When I gave a brief resume of what was looking good in the garden and told them our Davidia (Handkerchief Tree) was in full flower, everyone cheered! Most heartening!

We believe our specimen was planted over 100 years ago by Edmund Backhouse and possibly nibbled by squirrels in its formative years which may have contributed to its mature shape.  I have also read that each seed is capable of producing four seedlings which accounts for plants in the wild being multi-stemmed, so that may well be another explanation. 

A French missionary in China, Abbe Jean Pierre David, first sent reports back to Europe of this glorious tree. Veitch’s nursery of Exeter sent Ernest Wilson, a previously untravelled 23 yr old, to China with instructions to find and collect seeds of this botanical holy grail.  His journey of 13,000 miles was eventually successful but unknown to Veitch, the seed requires a period of up to 18 months of alternating cold and warmth to stimulate germination, and it was a Frenchman, Paul Guillaume Farges who won the sought-after ‘introduced by’ accolade.

Nicky Wharton

(see pic of the week for photo)