I have for several weeks now had a task hanging over me of ‘cataloguing John’s finds’… yes, Agent John in Fife has enthusiastically taken up his role as Agent and is determined to be ‘chief monkey hunter’ – although of course, that’s not an official title, and this blog isn’t a competition, as you all know.
(Note for new readers – As a bit of a joke I first introduced the concept of ‘Agent’ to someone who was ‘hunting’ for monkey puzzle trees ‘in the field’, as it were. As in the way of jokes, it stuck, and so ‘Agent’ became a formal title, only awarded by me, for those ‘dedicated to the task of hunting monkey puzzle trees.’ There is no specific number of trees you need to find to be awarded ‘Agent’, and the title can only be given by me… but it’s for people who show continued commitment to the Monkey Map catalogue. The work has no pay, it can be dangerous at times, and you are expected to ‘keep your eyes peeled’, and carry a camera at all times. The reward is your entry in the Monkey Map.)
Thanks to a rainy bank holiday weekend today I’ve been able to finally get all John’s trees in order, and so I’m going to show you his Scottish collection first. John told me he’d put Scotland on the map – and he has, especially around his home ground of Fife!
But John doesn’t restrict his hunting to Fife, so we’ll start in DG with Castle Kennedy.
Castle Kennedy has an avenue if monkey puzzle trees planted in 1849, containing a Champion tree – the tallest MPT in Scotland, as well as a smaller avenue. Castle Kennedy is a ruin and there is Loch Inch Castle still standing. John has very carefully mapped the area for me.
And here are the trees in the small avenue:
And the larger avenue with the Champion tree and Loch Inch castle:
So a total of 67 trees at Castle Kennedy. Also in DG is this lovely find – I just love this photo:
Some more finds in DG…
John is always very tenacious about finding avenues of monkey puzzle trees. He’d got wind of one up at Logan House Garden, which I’d not heard of, having only known about Logan Botanic Garden. This is from their website:
Originally part of Logan Botanic Garden, Logan House Garden has had a had an interesting history, suffering intermittent periods of neglect over the past fifty years and severe storm damage a decade ago. Opened to the public in 2002 Logan House has benefited from a programme of replanting and renovation and the results have been very successful.This Victorian woodland garden features champion trees, immaculate sweeping lawns, pathways that meander through ancient shrubberies and a majestic monkey puzzle avenue.
I’m guessing this is Logan House itself, and you can see some trees to the left of the house. Already in the catalogue is a tree which I catalogued as DG1, from Logan Botanic Gardens (spotted by Matthew Pottage), and I think one of John’s finds is the same tree.
And here are John’s other finds at Logan House Garden, 33 trees in total. (Although I’m not quite sure I would call the avenue ‘majestic’!)
And there’s more in DG…
Moving on into KY… the last time John saw KY45 (top right photo below) he said it had not been vandalised by a poodle parlour. Ah well, it does look rather strange!
John’s been very busy and I have another clutch of KY trees from earlier this year. Three at Mugdrum, snowdrops are just visible underneath the tree in the bottom photo.
KY34 is on a farm at Letham in Fife – John rang the bell and asked first if he could photograph the tree. The woman that came out was very pleasant and went on to tell John that she hadn’t thought MPTs were ‘anything special’ as she had three in her garden as a child. It turns out she was brought up in what is now the Eden Mansion Hotel. She says its looking a lot better than when she lived there. (Those very fine three trees are on the map as KY21 to KY23, and you can see them on this post).
And there’s plenty more in KY….
And to complete the KY catalogue (for now no doubt), a very find pair at Strathyrum House in St Andrews, John very tenaciously waited for the open afternoon in April so he could get these lovely trees.
Still more from Scotland – EH1 (not the first in EH, but a ‘spare’ catalogue number as had some duplicated trees in the Botanics), and KA8.
A very fine pair in Reston, north of Berwick in Scotland.
And also in TD, a lovely graveyard tree in Berwick, so in England. I am very fond of both pairs of monkey puzzle trees and trees in cemeteries.
And John’s also a regular hunter over in Lancashire, and has a whole clutch of LA trees as well, so there’s 75 trees in LA to add to the catalogue.
But – for one person, I think that’s enough for now. So well done Agent John in Fife and thanks very much for your enthusiasm – and the maps too.