A feverish William Lobb, racing back to England in the autumn of 1853, knew he held the raw material of a legend.
It was during his third plant hunting trip to North America that he came across the grove of mammoth conifers in the Sierra Nevada. He collected seeds, shoots and seedlings, knowing that they would sell like ‘hot cakes’ in Victorian England – a country thirsty for new plants and trees. Little did the Victorian resident in Geddington, who planted this particular seedling, consider what the tree would be like 150 years later, nor could he have dreamed of the trouble it would cause to a small part of the English landscape.
The last Wellingtonia Fir tree in Geddington has had to bite the dust. One and a half centuries of growth came down in just a few days, but as with the other Sequoia Gigantea in Queen Street – right tree, wrong place. The damage that its shallow, but far spreading roots, has done to both nearby properties and the road, meant it had to go.
It was a splendid example of Victorian plant hunting, the tallest tree in the village, visible from some miles away, which is quite amazing when you consider how well hidden Geddington is in the dips of the gentle rolling countryside of Northamptonshire.
The felling of a tree of such importance, didn’t go unnoticed and our resident photographers took full advantage of this opportunity, including a video of its last moments.
Many thanks to all the photographers who sent in these images, Frank, Kristi and Pam, and special thanks to Frank for the video.