It’s interesting that just as I was about to write this post I read an article in the Weekend Financial Times entitled “Golden Sylva“. Basically, it’s about an architect in Germany using his own woodland to build his own low-energy house. The woodland has been owned by his family for centuries … “Frey is not alone in Germany with his love of woods. The citizens of Europe’s leading industrial economy are deeply attached to their trees. About 2 million people in a population of 80 million possess at least a patch of woodland, often no larger than a copse but nonetheless a personal treasure … in German culture, the tree is uniquely significant. As Hans-Peter Friedrich, a former agriculture minister, says : “You find woods in every German story”.”
The article goes on to explain what Mr Frey is doing and how he is going about the construction etc. but later it reverts back to the tree-related roots of Germany’s founding myth and the importance of woods in German art, music and literature.
On Wednesday I start this summer’s “Big Adventure”. In 2013 I spent a month working at a B&B in Switzerland and last year and the year before I took myself off to Ireland for 4 weeks and 3 weeks successively. This year I’ll be travelling in Germany, Denmark and Sweden visiting Lübeck, the Baltic islands of Rügen and Bornholm, walking the Osterlen Way before finally spending two nights in the Swedish university city of Lund. Originally I had hoped to travel quite independently by ferry and car but there are no longer passenger car ferry services between the north of England and northern Germany or Scandinavia. I think there is still a service to Amsterdam but that is as far north in Europe as you can get these days. So, to save precious time, I’m flying to Hamburg and back from Copenhagen.
Just south of Jedburgh, Scotland, beside the main A68 road is the ‘heritage’ Capon Tree. We walked along the road, pavement all the way luckily, to look at this famous tree. Several books feature Heritage Trees in this country and in Ireland including Thomas Pakenham’s Meetings with Remarkable Trees; The Heritage Trees of Britain and Northern Ireland; Heritage Trees of Ireland; Heritage Trees of Scotland and Heritage Trees Wales.
Can I really have been have jotting down notes about my travels and interspersing the notes with my photos for five years already? I’ve just been looking back at my post about Capability Brown at Harewood and am amazed to see that the date was October 2011. My first post was dated 20 August 2011. And I’m stunned to see that that was five years ago to the day! Well I never.
Just before my Ireland trip I read the book “Gardens of a Golden Afternoon : The Story of a Partnership, Edwin Lutyens & Gertrude Jekyll; by Jane Brown. Amongst all the house and garden descriptions od collaborations was one combination in Ireland which I knew to be very near my route through Co. Laois. The house no longer exists but Heywood Gardens survived and at the time of Jane writing was under the care of the Salesian Fathers’ Missionary College. Today the Office Public Works maintains the gardens which are now in the grounds of a school.