The Southern Collection

First published 1st Jul, 2024

Highclere holly (common name)
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Tag No: 1804
Botanical Name: Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Nigrescens’
Year first gained champion status: 2023
Champion for height, girth, or both: G
Year Planted: 1905-55
Planted by: W Nelmes Snr

Brief description: cross between I. aquifolium and I. perado. It grows to around 10 metres tall and has broad glossy leaves with no spines or with a small number of sharp teeth. As a male holly it produces no fruits.

Japanese Wingnut
Pterocarya rhoifolia, 2023, H + G (wales), 1993, Unknown

A handsome tree, with spreading branches clothed in long pinnate foliage. Pendulous catkins of lush green flowers drape the branches during the summer months. Unlike other members of the walnut family, it is not susceptible to late frosts, and is also a good deal faster in growth. Flowering in June, the tree bears winged, edible, one-seeded nuts.

Fraxinus excelsior ‘Stricta’, 2023, H + G , Unknown, Unknown

This tree has a conspicuous graft, and was thought to be the cultivar ‘Jaspidea’, but it has not shown the expected autumn colour of ‘Jaspidea’. It is more probably the cultivar ‘Stricta’ which has the narrow, upright habit shown by this tree.

Chilko Crab Apple
Malus ‘Chiko’, 2023, H + G , Unknown, Unknown

A small tree with a spreading crown. Its leaves are oval, purplish at first, dark green when mature. In mid spring there are large, red-pink flowers up to 4.5cm across, which are followed by large (4cm), rounded crab apples. These are deep red and shiny, and they ripen in August. The fruits are produced in alternate years. Malus ‘Chilko’ takes its name from Chilko Lake in south

Turkey Oak or Australian Oak
Quercus Cerris ‘Marmor Star’, 2023, H + G (Wales), 1989, M. Frazer

This tree is at the south end of the Apple group, by the canal. A cultivar of the Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) characterised by its deeply cut leaves, mottled with pale green flecks.

Erman’s Birch
Betula ermanii, 2023, H (Wales) + G, 1966-67, W. Nelmes Snr

Betula ermanii is a medium-sized tree growing to around 22 metres, with a broadly conical crown that becomes rounded on mature trees. The trunk has creamy-white bark, sometimes pinkish, horizontally peeling, while on the branches the bark is brown or red-brown. The leaves are heart-shaped, coarsely toothed and bright green in summer, turning yellow in autumn.

Highclere holly
Llex x altaclerensis, 2023, H, 1950-55, W. Nelmes Snr

Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Nigrescens’, Highclere holly, is a cross between I. aquifolium and I. perado. It grows to around 10 metres tall and has broad glossy leaves with no spines or with a small number of sharp teeth. As a male holly it produces no fruits.

Mahaleb Cherry
Prunus x fontanesia, 2023, H+G, 1988, M.Frazer

Prunus x fontanesiana is thought to be a natural hybrid between P. avium and P. mahaleb. It is a fast-growing tree reaching 15 metres or more in height. The leaves are dark green, ovate to oval, sometimes heart-shaped, 7 to 12cm long and finely toothed. The flowers are white, 2.5cm, appearing in clusters in May. The fruits are globular, the size of a small cherry and nearly black.

Chelsea Sentinel lime
Tilia tomentosa ‘Chelsea sentinel’, 2023, H+G (Wales), 1988, Unknown

Tilia tomentosa ‘Chelsea Sentinel’ is a cultivar of the Silver lime, Tilia tomentosa, a large tree up to 30 metres tall, with a broad pyramidal shape and roundish, heart-shaped leaves. These are sharply toothed, dark green above and silvery white-tomentose beneath. The flowers are a dull white, produced in clusters in late summer. ‘Chelsea Sentinel’ has a distinctly columnar shape, weeping branches and long-stalked leaves.

Foxglove tree or Princess tree
Paulownia tomentosa, 2022, H+G, Unknown, Unknown

Paulownia tomentosa is a broad, spreading tree with a straight trunk, growing up to 25 metres tall. It has very large (up to 35cm) leaves, heart-shaped or sometimes five-lobed, woolly on both sides. Fragrant lilac-purple flowers that resemble the foxglove flower are produced before the leaves in early spring. The fruit is ovoid, 3 to 4 cm long, containing numerous tiny winged seeds.

Lawson’s cypress ‘Gold Lace’
lawsoniana ‘Gold Lace’, 2023, H(Wales)+G, 1992, Unknown

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana is a large, dense, conical tree reaching heights in excess of 40M in Britain. Its trunk often forks, and it has reddish brown, coarse bark. The foliage varies from dark to glaucous green and consists of fan-like sprays which may droop at the tips. When crushed the foliage has a scent resembling that of parsley or resin. The leaves are pointed though not prickly, and underneath they have grey/white streaks along the joints. The leaf threads are 1.8mm wide.

Western red cedar ‘Aurea’
Plicata ‘Aurea’, 2023, G, Unknown, Unknown

A large, evergreen, narrowly pyramidal tree reaching an ultimate height of up to 35m. Aromatic, glossy, scale-like, sharply-pointed golden-yellow leaves are held in large drooping sprays on spreading branches that curve upwards at the end.

Hybrid Wingmut
Pterocarya x rehderiana, 2022, H+G, Unknown, Unknown

Pterocarya x rehderiana is a hybrid of the Causasian and Chinese wingnuts, Pterocarya fraxinifolia and Pterocarya stenoptera. It is a large and fast-growing tree, up to around 25 metres tall, often with a short trunk and a very broad crown. Its bark is grey and closely ridged, and the leaves are pinnate, 20cm or more long, with eleven to twenty-one leaflets.

Purple hybrid bean tree
Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’, 2023, H, 1990, M.Frazer

Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’ is a cultivar of Catalpa x erubescens, itself a hybrid of the Indian bean tree (C. bignonioides) and Yellow catalpa (C. ovata). ‘Purpurea’ is is a medium-sized tree distinguished by its very dark purple young leaves. These gradually become dark green as they mature but they remain darker than the type, and they retain purple stalks and purplish veins. The flowers are 3cm across, and white with orange and purple markings.

Golden Siberian elm
Ulmus pumila ‘Aurescens’, 2023, H+G, Unknown, Unknown

Siberian elm is a unique plant that can be cultivated both as a tree and as a bush, depending on the variety and care style. It’s not difficult and can grow in basically any soil.