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Pinetum

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The Pinetum was taken out of the larger Drying Field and added to the gardens in the thirties, by Howard Howell, who also planted some trees and kept a horse or two there. Later two dog kennels were built, with runs, for Muriel’s greyhounds; these remained until 1982 when they were demolished and the concrete blocks put in the Billiard Room to build a new floor. There were various fruit trees scattered about, and small plantations of Norway spruce and Pittosporum, but until the late 1970s this area was very open and under-used.

It was then that Brian Howell planted an area with noble fir as a speculative trial for Christmas trees. Within the area fenced against rabbits, he also planted the first specimen conifers that were the foundation of the Pinetum. In fact, although there are some notable pines, the spruces and firs tend to be more happy in this environment and always have striking colours and lustrous foliage. The Christmas trees are now long gone, and the specimens are filling the area quickly as they thrive. With the backdrop of Howard’s larger redwood and cypresses from the 1930s, and Brian’s more diverse range from the 1970s and 80s, the Pinetum is now a fine part of the garden in its own right. We are gradually replacing the overgrown Norway spruces with more interesting trees: these include magnolias, and deciduous trees to diversify further the autumn colours. At the northern end of the Pinetum is a large grove of modern hybrid rhododendrons, mostly late flowering and scented.
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