Some recent finds from my increasingly large ‘to do’ folder. You’ll have to read on to find the ‘pop history’!
This lovely tree was sent to me by Fiona Hendrie, it’s AB6. Fiona tells me, ‘This was planted by my Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother, George and Jane Findlay at Laurel Villa, Cathay Terrace, Cullen. They were married in 1897 but this wasn’t their first house.’
So it’s obviously at least 100 years old. Nice to know who planted it, thanks Fiona.
I love monkey puzzle trees in cemeteries. And Fiona Inches sent me these very fine trees in Newmonthill Cemetery in Forfar.
Robert Ross has this image from a tree in Wellshill Cemetery in Perth, where he says there are at least ten trees. As he gardens around Scotland with Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he should be in a good position to keep his eyes peeled.
Over in Rochdale way thanks to QtheOwl on Twitter, 28 trees at Millcroft Tea Rooms, originally a plant nursery. They are just visible in the old photo – thanks to Rochdale Past, Present & Future for sharing that.
QtheOwl also sent me a photo of two (possibly more) trees at Rivington Terrace Gardens.
I had never heard of this place – the photos look amazing. Named as one of Britain’s Best Lost Gardens in 2014 (by Countryfile), they were financed by Lord Leverhulme, founder of Lever Brothers, and begun in 1900. This image is from their website, looks like a good place for a visit. (Update 8 April 2016, you can see my visit to Rivington in the rain – here – more monkey puzzle trees were found).
Katy Bush from Trainriggs Farm in Cumbria wrote to me, ‘We have lived here for 16 years and this weekend I have found five baby monkey puzzle trees which have appeared in a pot in the garden! They are the first seeds that we have had germinate in all that time.’
Let us know how the young seedlings get on Katy. Thanks. It was nice to receive these as they are in an area that appears fairly sparsely populated by monkey puzzle trees on the map.
Going down south, Moira in Croydon is on a mission to provide me with CR trees, the catalogue is now at five – good work. Moira also spotted this tree in the Glyndebourne Opera House.
Agent Naturanaute continues to be out and about spotting monkeys, she sent this very fine tree from the gardens of Chiswick House. Given the symmetry of the garden, it looks like there might have been another tree on the other side of the path maybe?
She has also sent two from Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, just next to Bicton college (home of a monkey puzzle avenue planted in 1844, the longest in Europe, about 500m, two rows of 25 trees, and 63 trees found there by Agent Jim).
And whilst in that area, so to speak, I was pleased to hear from Agent Jim who has been quiet lately. He sent yet another addition to the PL catalogue, which is now at 333 trees – by far the largest postcode collection.
Agent Jim has been in Australia recently and sent a nice collection of other araucaria trees to be featured in another post. Thanks Jim.
Agent Millwall MPT has been off her home patch and sent this tree in Worcester College in Oxford.
Agent Millwall MPT is very good at finding trees on Twitter, and here is one in PE – the East region is ratherly poorly represented so was pleased to receive this posted by Farmers Friend, so I hope you’ll submit more from your area. This one is in Quadring, located between the delightfully named Wigtoft and Belnie. (PE1 is at the equally delightfully named Cowbit).
Nice to hear again from Roy Bayfield, who sent me a tree on in the grounds of Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. He said, ‘So not having thought much about Monkey Puzzle Trees for years, I’m listening to Elvis Costello’s autobiography and he mentions a picture of the band in front of one ‘on the Wirral’, as part of the Armed Forces album packaging way back in 1979.’ Yes, that’s how it goes Roy, once you start been tuned to monkeys, they are everywhere! Roy sent me the image, and (geekily I think) I recognised it! It’s CH93 pictured last year, one of Agent Philip’s finds. A piece of pop history! Thanks Roy. The artist of this album cover (and others around the time) was Barney Bubbles, and Roy sent me a link to this post about his work – very interesting as it’s the style of design I found myself influenced by when I landed in art college in 1984.
Of course, there’s more – there’s always more – Agent Philip continues his work in CH and Agent John in Fife is single-handedly determined to become chief monkey hunter, and my regular European correspondent Raul Conde has been in touch… thank you everyone, your finds will be catalogued in due course.
And it’s not all good news in monkey world, over in Llandogo village in postcode area NP, Frances McDowall wrote to me to show me that their tree had blown over in the NW gales. She tells me there are others in the village, so I hope you’ll send them in for the map Frances. Thanks. (Note: I do keep the information of ‘ex’ trees, using the letter ‘X’, but don’t add them to the overall total number of trees in the catalogue).
Well I didn’t want to finish on a sad note, so here’s a bit of monkey history. Colin Thornton in New Zealand, the only person I know in New Zealand in fact, sent me a link to a BBC News item about the discovery of a fossil which gives us more information about how the dinosaur tyrannosaurus rex evolved – it’s here. He was amazed to see plenty of monkey puzzle trees from ‘footage’ of dinosaurs 90 million years ago:
Monkey fans may know that the tree was alive 200 million years ago and rubbed shoulders with the dinosaurs. Its spine-like needles acted as protection from ancient grazing animals now long extinct. And here is a brachiosaurus happily munching MPT cones! (Photo credit here).
So, there we have it – who’d have thought we could range from Elvis Costello to brachiosaurus to cemeteries simply with our love of the monkey puzzle tree.
This ‘Monkey Map’ project is a personal project and the work of me, Sarah Horton.
I am helped by my task of cataloguing all monkeys by keen monkey puzzle hunters who also do this in their free time.
Thank you everyone for your support.