Gardens of the World, European Garden is found between the White Garden and the American Garden with views of the African Garden. The European Garden features a rock waterfall surround by some trees of interest from Europe. Over the years many wedding couples and families have taken their photos in this area due to its natural beauty.
Mountain Pine – Pinus Mugo
The Pinus Mugo is a high altitude European pine there are two subspecies, Pinus mugo subsp mugo and Pinus mugo subsp uncinata.
The species is highly valued in horticulture particulary the smaller subsp mugo these are often used by home owners and landscape architects for home security purposes. The needles deter unauthorised persons from entering private properties and may prevent break-ins if planted under windows and near drain pipes. The aesthetic characteristics of mountain pines; in conjuction with their home security qualities, makes them a considerable alternative to artificial fences and walls. They are widely used for ornamental in parts of North America.
An old name for the species Pinus montanea is still occasionally seen, and a typographical error “mugho” (first made in a prominent 18 century encyclopaedia) is still repeated surprisingly often.
European Beech – Fagus sylvatica
The Europe Beech or common Beech is a deciduous tree belonging to the beech family Fagaceae. Although the tree is regarded as native to Southern England recent evidence suggests that it did not arrive in England until about 4,000 BC or 2000 years after the English Channel formed after the ice age. It could have been an early introduction by Stone Age man, who used the nuts for food. Localised pollen records have been recorded in the North of England from the Iron Age. It is a large tree capable of reaching 49 metres with a 3 metre trunk diameter although typically it grows 25 – 35 metres tall with a 1.5 trunk diameter. The Fagus sylvatica has a typical life span of 150 to 200 years though can get to 300 years.
The Fagus sylvatica starts to flower when it is between 30 – 80 years old. The flowers are small catkins which appear shortly after the leaves in spring. The seeds called beech nuts are small triangular nuts there are two nuts in each cupule maturing in the autumn 5 – 6 months after pollination. Flower and seed production is particularly abundant in years following a hot sunny and dry summer though rarely for two years in a row.
The nuts are an important food for birds, rodents and in the past also people, although they are only very rarely eaten by man, slightly toxic to man if eaten in large quantities due to the tannins they contain. The nuts were none the less pressed to obtain an oil in 19th century England that was used for cooking and in lamps. They were also ground to make flour, which could be eaten after the tannins were leached out by soaking.
The wood is used in the manufacture of numerous object and implements. Its fine and short grain makes it an easy wood to work with, easy to soak, dye (except its heartwood) varnish and glue. Steaming makes the wood even easier to machine. It has an excellent finish and is resistant to compression and splitting. It is particularly well suited for minor carpentry, particularly furniture from chairs to parquetry (flooring) and staircases. The European Beech can do almost anything other than heavy structural support, so long as it’s not left outdoors. Due to its hardness it is ideal for making wooden mallets and workbench tops.