Check out these BIG TREES—this time in London and Ireland!

My wife and I just returned from a three week trip to the British Isles including Scotland and Ireland. During our six days in London, a twelve day cruise that stopped at ten cities ending with two days in Paris, this tree guy kept his eyes open for cool trees—especially big ones.

It’s hard to top the Pacific Northwest and California for big trees. They just grow bigger and faster here than just about any other place on earth. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t big old trees to discover elsewhere, as I found out on our recent European trip as we visited numerous botanical gardens, castles, palaces, cathedrals and parks.

Allow me to share what I discovered.

When you think of London you generally think of things like this:

Buckingham Palace
The Tower Bridge
The British Parliament
Westminster Abbey

But how about the trees? Without trees, we’d all be dead and most of these building couldn’t have been constructed. Right?

Nathan next to an ancient London plane or sycamore tree in Hyde Park, London.
This ancient oak tree is located in the Royal Botanical Society’s Kew Gardens near London. The Kew Gardens have the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world and were started in 1759.
Nathan next to a giant sycamore tree at Kew Gardens.
Here’s the sycamore tree looking up into its crown.
Nathan next to a large common beech tree at Kew Gardens.
For you wine connoisseurs, here is a Mediterranean cork oak from which wine corks are made. This tree is also at the Kew Gardens.

Now let’s take a quick trip to southern Ireland. First stop is the Blarney Castle, but not to kiss the Blarney Stone, but to look at the ancient gardens adjacent to the castle.

Here’s what’s left of the world famous Blarney Castle. Not much. But the trees will still be here long after the castle is merely a heap of stone rubble!
Here is the largest common or English yew (Taxus baccata) that I’ve ever seen. Notice its size compared to my hat!
This is a giant, goofy looking Pacific Northwest native—a western red cedar—growing in Ireland at Blarney Castle.
This is the fabulous Powerscourt Estate near Dublin, Ireland with its world class botanical gardens.
Powerscourt Estate
This enormous Scotch or Scotts pine—a native to Eurasia and a common ornamental tree in Northwest landscapes—is located in the botanical gardens of the Powerscourt Estate.
This massive common beech tree is also located at Powerscourt Estate in Ireland.

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