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Horticultural Heritage : Horticultural Heritage Capability Brown Gertrude Jekyll Survey of Notable Trees 2000 Tree Map New Planting

Horticultural Heritage

Sir Lancelot 'Capability' Brown worked at Peper Harow in 1762-3. He designed the estate to be surrounded by a forest belt separating parkland from agricultural land, with the main views across open middle ground towards distant hills and forests creating a sense of the infinite.

He made good use of the tiny River Wey located at the bottom of a sloping lawn by damming and altering its course to create an important feature when viewed from the house. The contours of the lawn were contrived with a great deal of effort on the part of many labourers who shifted enormous mounds of earth with simple wheelbarrows.

Oak, ash, beech and yew were favoured for individual plantings close to the house and Brown placed cedars and pines on prominent knolls and in important positions to emphasise the contours of the park.

Two surviving Cedars of Lebanon in the pleasure grounds west of the house were planted around 1738, pre-dating the construction of the house by 30 years. The girth of the largest is in excess of 26 feet.

On a prominent knoll by the river a 90 feet high Cedar of Lebanon, 24 feet in girth, 230 years old and therefore almost certainly planted by Capability Brown, as is a huge Common Oak occupying a prominent position in front of the house, next to a 19th Century Cedar of Lebanon.

At the fork in the drive, a Spanish Chestnut over 200 years old is also possibly an original planting. Small clumps of yew close to the house date from the mid-18th Century.

Close to the Carriage House and draping its foliage into the courtyard, stands a fine example of an Oriental Plane, likely to have been planted about 1840 at the request of the 5th Viscount Midleton, George Alan Brodrick.

On the rear lawn stands a Blue Atlas Cedar of 13 feet in girth, about 120 years old and likely to have been planted by William Brodrick, 8th Viscount Midleton who was blind for much of his life.

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A survey of notable trees done in June 2000 by Owen Johnson of the The Tree Register.

Fine specimins of note are:
Number shown on map:
No: Latin Name Tree Vareity Height(mtrs) x Trunk Dia.(1.5m from ground) Approx. Year of Planting --- Notes
1 Acer cappadocicum Coliseum Maple 11 x 55 New house grounds, shapely. 10 x 46 in 1987
2 Cedrus atlantica f. glauca Blue Atlas Cedar 21 x 138 Lawn above Bathhouse. x 127 in 1987
3 Cedrus libani Cedar of Lebanon 26 x 263 1735 New house grounds, Fine bole x 254 in 1987
4 Cedrus libani Cedar of Lebanon 22 x 285 1735 New house grounds, branchy and broken.
5 Cedrus libani Cedar of Lebanon 24 x 334 at 0.1-0.5 1735 Laundry Cottage grounds, taped among branches and stumps. Glaucous.
6 Cedrus libani Cedar of Lebanon 29 x 235 at 0.8 1735 Lawn on top of Bathouse
7 Cedrus libani Cedar of Lebanon 24 x 200 at 0.8 1735? River by Bathouse. Much broken. x 194 in 1987
8 Cedrus libani Cedar of Lebanon 21 x 167 at 1.0 1735? Mansion front, drooping shoots.
9 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Albomaculata' Lawson Cypress 20 x 55 New house grounds, reverted at top. 13 x 38 in 1971
10 Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa' Sawara Cypress 20 x 70 Churchyard, SE.
11 Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa' Sawara Cypress 14 x 75 Churchyard E. Scarred bole.
12 Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa' Sawara Cypress 20 x 71+64 Churchyard S.
13 Metasequia glyptostroboides Dawn Redwood 16 x 43 New house grounds, riverside. 13 x 31 in 1987
14 Pinus contorta var. contorta Shore Pine 12 x 58 Lawn S. 11 x 42 in 1987
15 Pinus jeffreyi Jeffery Pine 30 x 121 Lawn below Park Avenue, fine tree. x 116 in 1987
16 Pinus muricata Bishop Pine 16 x 80 Lawn S. 12 x 55 in 1987
17 Plantanus orientalis Oriental Plane 14 x 141 at 0.4 By courtyard. Taped under burrs. x 136 in 1987
18 Populus 'Balsam Spire' Balsam Poplar 30 x 93 Dairy Cottage grounds, clone un-confirmed. 27 x 67 in 1987
19 Populua x 'Regenerata' Railway Poplar 34 x 198 Riverside New house grounds, Possibly the rare clone 'Marilandica' x 91 in 1987
20 Prunus avium Wild Cherry 18 x 89 Lawn below Park Avenue, Probably 'Plena' with double flowers?
21 Prunus sargentii Sargent's Cherry 10 x 60 Mansion front, Larger of pair.
22 Quercus frainetto Hungarian Oak 24 x 118 Lawn below Park Avenue, Fine tree. x 104 in 1987
23 Quercus x hispanica 'Luscombeana' Luscombe Oak 33 x 186 Dairy Cottage grounds, x 141 in 1987
24 Quercus robur English Oak 21 x 194 at 1.0 Mansion front, x 187 in 1987
25 Sequoia sempervirens Coast Redwood 33 x138 Dairy Cottage grounds, x129 in 1987
26 Taxodium distichum Swamp Cypress 16 x 67 Largest in line of four opposite Estate Office, SE. end tree. x 73 in 1987
27 Taxus baccata Yew 14 x 223 at 0.0 Church, ancient and hollow.
Church Yard Yew Tree.
There are many other species of trees including the following:
Copper Beech
Flowering Cherry
Ginko Biloba

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The Tree Register

A unique record of notable and ancient trees in Britain and Ireland.

Survey of June 2000 by Owen Johnson.

Enclosed is the list of notable trees at Peper Harow. I would be most very grateful if you could pass the details on to the various other owners as appropiate, with my apologies for not having been able to meet them.

The planting date 1735 for the Cedars was drawn from J.C.Loudon's 'Arboretem & Fruticetum Brittanicum' which was the main referece to trees in the 1830's this means they are about the fourth oldest cedars in Britain, all the other early cedars were killed by the intense cold of the winter of 1740.

(8)Loudon remarked on the great variety & form in the Cedars then, something which is notable today (especially in the tree in front of the mansion with the drooping branches which looked like a Deodar). Presumably their was a medieval manor at Peper Harow before the current mansion was built.

(9)The Lawson's cypress 'Albomaculata' is one of the biggest in Britain & a rare cultivar with steamy blotches over the foliage.

(14 & 16)On the mansion lawn, the Shore Pine and the Bishop Pine (not maritime pine as I first pressumed: it is abnormal for its species and probably comes from seed from the northen end of its range in California) are fast growing young examples of scarce species.

(15)The Jeffery Pine another Californian is the biggest in Surrey and exceptional for SE England: it prefers a higher rainfall.

(19)The big old Poplar by the river is, I suspect, a relatively common clone, 'Regenerata' Alan Mitchell, who made the previous measurements, felt it was a rarer form, 'Marilandica', I suspect on account of its huge size: whichever it is, it has the largest recorded trunk in Britain. It seems to me to lack some of the features of 'Marilandica', but if any records come to light in the house paperwork which confirm what was planted as, I shall be very pleased to hear.

(18)The riveside soils are ideal for the growth of Poplars, and the young Balsam Poplar, which I suspect is a clone called 'Balsam Spire' is also the largest speciman of this variety which we have so far recorded.

(20)The Cherry below Park Avenue is likely to be an exceptional example of a form of wild cherry with double flowers, but this can only be confirmed when it flowers.

Wild Cherry Flowers No 20.

(21)The Sargents Cherry is likely to prove the best in Surrey.

(22)The Hurgarian Oak is a fine example of a scarce but magnificent species.

(23)The Luscombe Oak is probably the joint tallest in Britain.

(27)The Churchyard Yew is one of the country's oldest trees, and likely to be a little over 1000 years old.

This is a notable assemblage of trees, it is particulary remarkable that no trees of great note seem to have been lost since Alan Mitchell's 1987 visit, which was before the two great storms. I hope that in due course some of the landowners will be inspired to plant a few more unusal trees, in order to perpetuate the estate's great arboricultural tradition.

I greatly enjoyed seeing these trees anyway, Many thanks.
Yours sincerely,
Owen Johnson

Survey Tree Map.
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New Planting

There have been several new Yew hedges planted:
On boundary between Park Avanue and Old Cedars.
On Boundaries between Dairy Cottage and Laundry Cottage lawns.
On road boundary by Carriage House south / Dairy Cottage / Laundry Cottage

Other New Trees near river bank on Dairy Cottage land;
Flowering Cherry
Balsam Poplar
Weeping Willow

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