The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Noble Oak at Flushing, Long Island

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Near the village of Flushing, Long Island, on the farm of Judge Lawrence, is growing one of the noblest oaks in the country. It is truly park-like in its dimensions, the circumference of the trunk being nearly thirty feet, and its majestic head of corresponding dignity. In the deep alluvial soil of the western valleys, the oak often assumes a grand aspect, and bears witness to the wonderful fertility of the soil in that region.** (* The house seen in the engraving represents the old "Wyllis House." This family, its former occupants, furnished the Secretary of State for Connecticut for more than a century. Near the Charter Oak are some of the apple trees planted by the Pilgrims, evidently Pearmains. Some of these, lately felled, have been examined, and are found to be more than 200 years old.) (** The following well authenticated description of a famous English oak, is worth a record here. "Close by the gate of the water walk of Magdalen College, Oxford, grew an oak which perhaps stood there a sapling when Alfred the Great founded the University. This period only includes a space of 900 years, which is no great age for an oak. About 500 years after the time of Alfred, Dr. Stukely tells us, William of Waynefleet expressly ordered his college (Magdalen College) to be founded near the Great Oak; and an oak could not, I think, be less than 500 years of age to merit that title, together with the honor of fixing the site of a college. When the magnificence of Cardinal Wolsey erected that handsome tower which is so ornamental to the whole building, this tree might probably be in the meridian of its glory. It was afterwards much injured in the reign of Charles II., when the present walks were laid out. Its roots were disturbed, and from that time it declined fast and became a mere trunk. The oldest members of the University can hardly recollect it in better plight; but the faithful records of history have handed down its ancient dimensions. Through a space of 16 yards on every side it once flung its branches; and under its magnificent pavilion could have sheltered with ease 3,000 men. In the summer of 1778 this magnificent ruin fell to the ground. From a part of its ruins a chair has been made for the President of the College, which will long continue its memory."-Gilpin's Forest Scenery. The King Oak, Windsor Forest, once the favorite tree of William the Conqueror, is now more than 1,000 years old, and the interior of the trunk is quite hollow. Professor Burnet, who described it, lunched inside this tree with a party, and says it is capable of accommodating ten or twelve persons comfortably at dinner, sitting. The Beggar's Oak in Bagot's Park is twenty feet in girth five feet from the ground. The roots rise above the surface in a very extraordinary manner, so as to furnish a natural seat for the beggars chancing to pass along the pathway near it; and the circumference taken there is 68 feet. The branches extend from the tree 48 feet in every direction. The Wallace Oak at Edenslee, near where Wallace was born, is a noble tree 21 feet in circumference. It is 67 feet high, and its branches extend 45 feet east, 36 west, 30 south, and 25 north. Wallace and 300 of his men are said to have hid themselves from the English among the branches of this tree, which was then in full leaf.)