Drum Manor in Co Tyrone repays exploration with fine trees hidden away including a beech avenue and a stand of beech in a shelter belt recorded by Alan Mitchell as some of the tallest in Northern Ireland.
Just in front of the gardener’s house is a lovely example of the Tulip tree Liriodendron sp. The gardener must have loved his trees, planting and caring for the variety of specimens at Drum. Did he choose this one to see from his own windows?
The tree is 13’ 2” round its trunk and about 60’ tall, one of the largest in the Province. Tulip trees flower only occasionally in our climate, but the pale green foliage is a delight at any time. Each leaf is lobed, with what looks like a ‘pinch’ taken out of the tip. The old story is that the tulip tree grew in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, Eve reached back and pinched a piece out of the leaf so as to have something left of paradise. The tulip tree leaf has borne this shape ever since.
Tulip trees have recently been used as street trees in a new planting scheme in Richhill, Co. Armagh.
There is a remarkable tulip tree in Dunmurry outside the Beechlawn House Hotel planted by the former owner when the house was private. The footpath makes a detour to give the tree space, but it has had to withstand tarmac all round it and a metal religious plaque fixed to its trunk – the bark is beginning to grow over the edge as if to hold it in place.