Saturday, 29 September 2018

House of Gray

The story of this post begins with a book: Alan Mitchell's Trees of Britain



This is not an identification guide, but a survey of the individual trees of more than 150 different species. In his lifetime, Alan Mitchell measured many trees of outstanding shape and size and this book records his findings. What you get is a practical guide as to where to find the best specimens.

The book was published in 1996, but many of the trees are still there.

Today, you can buy a second hand copy for £0.06 + £3.29 P&P.

As part of my preparation my upcoming workshop on drawing and painting trees at the Birnam Institute, I have been looking for good examples of sessile oak, Quercus petraea, and pedunculate oak, Quercus robur, to photograph.

Alan Mitchell says: 'At Gray House, Dundee, near the drive, a fine specimen is 102/24 ft', where 102 ft is the estimated height, and 24 ft is the circumference.

Google 'Gray House' comes up with a building at risk also known as the House of Gray:


A few days ago, we visited this beautiful classical country house. You can find out more by clicking the photograph to get to the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland.

Did we find the tree?


Maybe. We did find a couple of potential candidates and enjoyed a meander around the house and grounds. All seems secure, although there has been recent graffiti and other vandalism.


Bought a Euromillions lottery ticket on the way home. Got 1 number right, which is 1 more than we got on the previous occasion..

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Birnam Oak Workshop Report

There are two native species of oak, the pedunculate oak, Quercus robur , and the sessile oak, Quercus petraea . According to one definiti...