New book: “The most fortunate situation”: The Story of York’s Museum Gardens

“The most fortunate situation”: The Story of York’s Museum Gardens 
by Peter Hogarth and Ewan Anderson (2018)

The history of York is the history of England and the history of the Museum Gardens is the history of York. From a city dumping ground to a monastic garden to, in 1928, a botanic garden, the Museum Gardens have expanded and developed. The purpose has evolved from exclusively scientific to include horticulture and leisure. There is a rich and varied plant collection underpinned by an Arboretum with a range of rare trees. The book includes 12 of Ewan’s tree drawings.

A page from the book featuring some of Ewan’s tree drawings

In Memorium

For residential development, this magnificent Southern Magnolia at Sidmouth Aboretum is to be felled.

At St Edmund Hall, this Southern Magnolia, which had dominated the front quadrangle for the post-war period, had to be removed as it was damaging the ancient stonework.
The wood was used to produce a set of beautiful carvings.

At the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, memorial trees for people and animals, particularly donkeys, have been planted.

The Sanctuary is a wonderful place to visit and, if possible, support. Donkeys epitomise friendliness, gentleness, hard work and humility. Time spent with them is enriching and therapeutic (

Wentworth Elm

Long considered extinct in Britain, two Wentworth Elms were discovered in the grounds of Holyrood Palace, during a survey by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, in 2016. They are thought to have been planted in about 1909.

Ancient Yew Trees of Borrowdale

On the slopes at the upper end of Borrowdale in the Lake District are three Yew Trees. They were visited by Wordsworth before one was destroyed in a storm in 1803. He penned the poem ‘Yew-Trees’ in which he described the ‘fraternal four’. The trees are about 1,500 years old. In 2002, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Queen, the Borrowdale Yew was named one of the fifty great British trees.

St Edmund Hall, Oxford

St. Edmund Hall founded, it is estimated, in 1236, claims to be the oldest academical society for the education of undergraduates in any university. It is the last surviving medieval hall in Oxford. Over the past few years, Ewan has been drawing the trees in the college grounds as a contribution to its annual exhibition, mounted for the Oxford Arts Week. The college owns four of Ewan’s pictures.

See more trees from St. Edmund Hall here.

Narrow Leaved Ash

An uncommon and majestic tree, the Narrow Leaved Ash dominates the Museum Gardens in York. Until January 2018, it was listed as a Champion Tree in both height and girth. Unfortunately, as a result of water transmission problems in its outer branches, it had to be pruned. The picture of the tree in its pomp was used by the tree surgeon to carry out the pruning. The second picture shows the tree as it is today.

Rundle Gardens, Gozo, Malta

With the expected changes in weather, the climate of Britain will become increasingly like that of the Mediterranean. Botanic gardens and parks will gradually take on the appearance of Rundle Gardens with a good deal of bare earth but an array of exotic trees. The pictures illustrate some of these beautiful trees.

Dawyck Beech

A unique tree, a fastigiate Beech, was discovered by Sir John Naesmyth in the grounds of his house near Peebles. The grounds are now known as Dawyck Gardens, a constituent of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. Naesmyth was the landscape architect for the Museum Gardens in York, which also contain a Dawyck Beech.

The drawing shows the original tree, which remains healthy and is the source of all Dawyck Beech trees worldwide.

John Innes Centre: Open Day

On the weekend of 16th and 17th September 2017 the John Innes Centre celebrated 50 years of research on its present site in Norwich. Over 3000 visitors attended.

Ewan’s pictures in connection with Ash Dieback were on display and he was asked to draw a venerable and resistant Ash, a dominant feature in the grounds.