This giant redwood is the centrepiece of the Tring Memorial Garden, beautifully situated overlooking the pond. The garden was established in 1983 in remembrance of the Tring residents who died in the Second World War, whose names appear on plaques on either side of the entry gate.
The giant redwood is native to the Sierra Nevada region of California, although its colour and impressive stature have made it a popular species in cultivation from Europe to Australia . They are the largest trees in the world, growing to an average of 70m tall and 5-7m in circumference. This specimen, with a circumference of 6.5m, is actually a fairly normal size!
In their native habitat, giant redwoods are in decline as they are reliant on fires, which have been suppressed in California in the last century, for their seed dispersal. Since the problem was recognised, this fire policy has been changed and hopefully this will allow these towering giants to maintain their dominance in their native landscape.
The Memorial Garden tree is not the only Redwood in the Chilterns.
These four Indian Bean Trees are a rare sight in the Chilterns! The species is a native of North America, its name referring to the American-Indians, and it was first introduced to Britain in 1726 by Mark Gatsby. Despite its long residence in this country, it does not grow well in the British climate, hence its continued rarity; it will only grow in more southern, sheltered areas, and its fruit does not ripen well.
This fruit is the source of the "bean" part of its name. It produces long, thin seed pods, which bear a striking resemblance to British runner beans, although they don't go nearly so well with a Sunday roast!
The bean trees stand outside Tring Natural History Museum, which houses a marvellous collection of animals amassed by Lord Walter Rothschild in the late 19th to early 20th Century, as well as part of the Natural History Museum's bird collection.
This row of lime trees on Pond Close North is a relatively new feature of the Tring landscape, planted by the Town Council as part of a restoration project for the common land they stand on. They are still fairly young at the moment, but perhaps with time they will grow to give the same kind of spectacle provided by some of the lime avenues found in the Chilterns.