Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)
Plant of the month: November
Canadian botonist James E. Eckenwalder said, ‘The discovery of a living species of Metasequoia in a remote region of China at the end of the second world war, just a few years after its recognition in the fossil record, initiated a flurry of botanical and popular attention that has not since been matched, even by conifer finds that are scientifically interesting.’
The gardens have not one but four of these statuesque trees, probably planted in the gardens in the 1950’s, after the botanical flurry. Walk across the main lawn and take a look at the orange-brown fluted bark and the dusky red-brown autumn leaf colour. Known as the dawn redwood it is very fast growing and is related to the swamp cypress Taxodium distichum from the American everglades and the giant and coastal redwoods of California. It is a rare treat to see one of the oldest known coniferous trees growing in the UK.