After being a part of the College for around 70 to 100 years, we are sad to say a farewell to the great Poplar tree, situated in the rear car park of the College, which will be made safe next week.
The College follows best practice guidelines by conducting regular inspections on all trees within the estate. Upon inspection it was unfortunately discovered that the Poplar tree has become vulnerable to winter gales, due to its poor structural integrity. A cross-sectional tomographic scan indicated that the tree could become a threat and cause damage to both people and property.
Last year the Poplar was reduced in height in an attempt to prolong its life. However, these precautions were too late to be effective to save the tree.
Staff were notified earlier this week and there have been many emotional emails reflecting on the tree’s misfortune.
One staff member forwarded William Cowper’s (1731-1800) “The Poplar Field”:
THE POPLARS are fell’d, farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.
Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew:
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.
The blackbird has fled to another retreat
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat;
And the scene where his melody charm’d me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.
My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.
‘Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Short-lived as we are, our enjoyments, I see,
Have a still shorter date; and die sooner than we.
Mick Crossley then wrote his own poem in response to the sad news:
So bid farewell to the Poplar
It makes its last stand
Condemned to the chainsaw
By a tomographic scan.
Other staff members shared paintings of Poplars, such as Monet’s “The Four Trees” as part of his Poplar Series (Four Poplars on the Banks of the Epte River near Giverny), 1891, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
After taking some photos of the tree earlier today we noticed a large growth of mistletoe from one of the branches. We are hoping to transplant this onto another tree within the grounds, if you have any advice for this, please let us know!
If you have any stories of photographs involving the tree, please inform us of those too!
Hills Road Alumni Jack Merritt and Isobel Rowbotham work with the Learning Together initiative where students based at the University of Cambridge and… More...