Friday, 7 August 2009

THE TREE MAN OF KEW




















Anyone who watched "A Year At Kew" got to know the fairly irascible Yorkshire head of arboretum Tony Kirkham. And they all liked him so much that then he got his own TV show, "Trees that Made Britain". They liked his bluffness, his sense of enthusiasm, the way he tells people off for silly ideas, and his general matter-of-fact way of going about things. 

Anyway Tony Kirkham may be famous for being on TV, but amongst the horticultural community he's highly respected for trying new things, like mycorrhizal fungi to help ailing trees, and for going off (especially to Taiwan) to try to collect some of that island's rarest trees to bring back and grow in Kew. 

So recently the RHS honored him with a medal, which I completely missed as I was away doing bla bla bla during Hampton Court week, but honestly, listen, this is the best piece from the website "This is Lancashire" that appeared today about Kirkham and his career. 


4 comments:

VP said...

I was thinking of him the other day when I was inspecting the horse chestnut trees for signs of leaf miner damage. I seem to remember you commented last year that he reckoned we needed a good hard winter to get rid of the blighters. Well, it looks like we need more than one of them :(

emmat said...

I can't remember what I said, but apparently the latest Kew position is that the miners won't be killed by cold while they are in larval form or whatever, but that people need to collect up all the leaf litter, as much of it as they can, and burn it. This gets rid of the intermediate generation as much as possible. Time-consuming, but apparently it does work - Kew's horse chestnuts look relatively better than some I've seen outside the walls.

VP said...

I've also seen something about a garlic based treatment or suchlike. Must look it up and do an update post, especially as it looks like we have a tree round the corner with both leaf miner and canker.

Schoolchildren in Bristol are getting involved in a research project on leaf miner too.

VP said...

Hmm. I wonder what my local council will say when I talk to them about Chippenham's trees as I suspect they haven't got the resources to collect the leaves.

I could collect the leaves in my immediate neighbourhood (5 trees), but bonfires are discouraged and I suspect infected trees close by will quickly reinfect my local trees.

I wonder how long the larval form can last for if I made leafmould out of the infected leaves...