Updated for 2016
As I am sure many gardeners will agree, there is always something new to learn about plants… Whilst researching about Yew Trees yesterday, I was reminded that the Latin word Bacatta (as in Taxus Bacatta) means to bear berries – this is a reference to the brilliant red berries covering this plant in winter, which are so loved by birds.
Taxus Bacatta also known as Yew, English Yew or European Yew is one of the oldest plants in existence. It is difficult to date because Yew hollows inside the boughs over hundreds of years, and so does not have the usual internal bark rings which are counted to check the age of most other trees. However some English Yew can reliably be traced back to the 10th Century and is the longest-living plant in Europe. One reason for the longevity of yew plants is that this plant is fairly disease resistant.
Another reason I believe is that Yews are so easily maintained, adaptable and so have lasted the test of time (and fashions).
Yew plants have been used for centuries as hedging or topiary. It is so easy to prune and in its highly clipped topiarised form any shape can be produced including cloud trees, lollipops, spirals and so on.
Save £50! Buy Two for £200 – Half Standard Lollipop Yew Topiary Trees
Recently on one of our plant sourcing expeditions across Europe, we purchased custom made Yew to recreate a Victorian style parterre garden. Quite incredible specimens. Yew has such an elegant sophisticated dark green appearance and creates a backdrop to other showier colourful planting.
I was inspired to write about Yews when a saw some photos of Parc de Sceaux with some amazing Taxus topiary. Local to us is Hatfield House which has ancient topiary and hedging yew to view and I am arranging another trip there soon for more inspiration.