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Westonbirt Arboretum supports The New Sylva

posted on June 6, 2013

The authors of The New Sylva have been searching for a few elusive botanical specimens to illustrate for the book. Last week they visited one of the best locations for any tree hunter: Britain’s national arboretum at Westonbirt, in Gloucestershire, which features some 2,500 different tree species.

They required samples from a number of conifer species that, within a single branch, had to feature foliage (needles) together with this season’s young cones and mature cones produced the previous year. The best specimens are found on mature trees and so are often far beyond reach. With help from Forestry Commission staff a 5m telescopic pruning pole was used for some sampling, whilst for material higher up, the tree had to be climbed and the samples gently lowered to the ground.

Norway Spruce climbing at Westonbirt Arboretum

Norway Spruce climbing at Westonbirt Arboretum for The New Sylva, directed by Sylva’s Artist-in-Residence Sarah Simblet

Since the visit, our Artist-in-Residence Sarah Simblet has started work on drawing the specimens, including some foliage and cones of Norway spruce collected from high up a large tree.

Norway spruce drawings in progress by Sarah Simblet

Norway spruce drawings in progress by Sarah Simblet

Sylva is planning to collaborate with Westonbirt Arboretum during 2014 to promote the importance of our wood culture: more information will be provided on this soon.


For the latest news about the making of The New Sylva, to be published by Bloomsbury in April 2014, visit the author’s blog: www.NewSylva.com

 


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A venerable ash for The New Sylva

posted on March 18, 2013

Reblogged from The New Sylva

The authors of The New Sylva have been searching, with help from readers of their book blog, for the best example of a venerable ash tree in Britain to feature in the book. Last week our artist-in-residence, Sarah Simblet, visited the chosen tree with co-author Gabriel Hemery. It is growing in the ancient deer park at Moccas in Herefordshire, among dozens of other ancient oak and sweet chestnut trees.

The ash tree at Moccas is an indeterminable age but certainly over 500 years old – unusually old for ash that does not have the longevity of oak or sweet chestnut. Its girth measures over 8m, and its huge bole is riddled with hollows and bulbous knolls hiding the stumps of long-lost branches. While the old crown has retrenched, a classic symptom of a veteran tree, several rapidly-growing new stems have arisen to ensure a healthy living crown. Read more …

Sarah Simblet working on the composition of the venerable ash tree for The New Sylva

Sarah Simblet working on the composition of the venerable ash tree for The New Sylva


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A Scottish drawing expedition gets underway

posted on December 7, 2012

Sylva’s Artist-in-Residence, Sarah Simblet, has been in the Scottish Highlands with Gabriel Hemery this week.

The co-authors of The New Sylva are completing the latest phase of work for the book to be published by Bloomsbury in 2014, sponsored by the Sylva Foundation.

So far during their Scottish drawing expedition they have visited some Caledonian Pinewood, to research and draw Scots pine, and a stand of birch next to a loch. Later this week they are going in search of some of the tallest trees in Britain, and an amazing natural forest ecosystem on the West coast of Scotland.

You can read more about the author’s exploits on their blog, which features the making of The New Sylva, at www.NewSylva.com


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