Saplings From Europe’s Greatest Collection of Ancient Oaks on Sale at Blenheim Palace
A limited number of saplings grown from Europe’s greatest collection of ancient oaks have gone on sale to the public at Blenheim Palace for the first time.
Foresters on the Blenheim Estate have propagated 200 acorns from their unique collection of veteran oak trees and the two-year-old saplings are now available to purchase.
The acorns were gathered from a wooded area of the 2,000-acre parkland, known as High Park, which was originally created by Henry I as a deer park in the 12th century. Around 90% of the woodland is made up of oak trees and it is thought that at least 60 of these oaks date back to the Middle Ages.
The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the greatest number of ancient oak trees anywhere in Europe with some of the trees dating back to around 1000 AD.
“The acorns are collected from around the park in September while still on the trees. They’re put in cold water for 24 hours then mixed with compost in bins and turned once a week,” said Blenheim Estate Forester Robert Burgess.
“Once their roots start to grow, they are put into seed trays and placed into the greenhouse. In March they start to grow and stay there until the end of July, then they’re taken out to harden off for winter,” he added.
Most are planted around the estate for future generations but 200 were selected to be put into recycled pots and put on sale in the Blenheim Palace East Courtyard Gift Shop for £30. For each sapling sold, Blenheim will also plant an oak on the estate.
“We’re extremely fortunate that so many of these venerable trees have survived together here at Blenheim,” said Blenheim’s Head Forester Nick Baimbridge
“Inevitably as time passes these magnificent trees will eventually die out, however by carefully propagating and protecting saplings grown from acorns produced by the original oaks we will be able to ensure the legacy of these great survivors will live on into the future,” he added.
The saplings come with clear instructions on how to care for and plant them. They can reach heights of up to 35 metres, so people will need to think carefully about where they place them.
“We can’t wait for visitors to have the chance to share in this incredible legacy and take home a very special part of Blenheim’s living history that could carry on growing for a thousand years,” said Blenheim Palace’s Head of Retail Judy Bendall.
“The fact that everyone who purchases a sapling also has another one planted here on the estate means they’re also part of Blenheim’s heritage,” she added.
High Park has been recognised as one of the most biodiverse habitats in the UK. The ancient woodlands support more than 100 different protected and notable species of fauna and flora; including around 50 different types of beetle and 16 butterfly and moth species. Other wildlife recorded in the forests includes otters, water voles, lizards, grass snakes and great crested newts.
- For more information visit www.blenheimestate.com/land
About Blenheim Estate Land
At Blenheim Estate Land we know that our land is precious and finite but cared for properly its benefits can be limitless. Yet today there are fresh challenges like climate change, an aging population and increasing urbanisation.
So our approach – spanning a number of projects – needs to be as sophisticated, enduring and holistic as those issues we face.
By adopting new methods of valuing our natural capital we can view our land resources as part of an ecosystem. An ecosystem whose benefits extend to the air we all breathe, the green transport solutions that connect our communities, the physical and mental health we enjoy, and the quality of the food we consume.
At the pinnacle of our ambitions is the goal to become the first estate to demonstrate carbon-negative land management.
Ultimately, these projects form part of Blenheim’s Strategic Purpose; to be the lifeblood of the local economy, to enhance the lives of local people, and to share and protect this place.
At Blenheim Estate we believe the bounty from our land is more than the annual harvest, it’s the fundamental source of continued prosperity, renewal and wellbeing. Always growing our legacy.