‘Champion tree’ at National Trust garden is among victims of Storm Katie

A champion tree that blew down at Nymans Garden during Storm Katie SUS-160330-162613001

A champion tree that blew down at Nymans Garden during Storm Katie SUS-160330-162613001

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Among the victims of this week’s ‘Storm Katie’ which left a trail of damage across Sussex was a ‘champion tree’ at Nymans Garden at Handcross.

Staff at the National Trust garden said they were ‘saddened’ by the loss of the almost-hundred-year-old Pyrus glabra - a type of pear tree native to Iran.

Assistant head gardener Philip Holmes said: “It was planted here in the 1920s and was one of our champion trees - that is one which is a specimen in the British Isles which is either the tallest or fattest of its type.

“This one was one of the tallest. It is very attractive when in flower and there are very few specimens of it in the UK.

“We have tried to propagate it in the past but its has been resistant to all attempts. It was beginning to get on the old side, but it is sad to have lost it.”

Nymans has around 30 champion trees in the garden, but no other Pyrus glabra.

The storm also lost a mountain ash, a yellow-flowered Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’, along with a Lawson Cypress ‘Kilmacurrgh’. A chunk was also lost from a cedar tree.

Added Philip: “We got off quite lightly really when we saw how strong the wind was.”

Some re-planting is to take place in the garden this spring.