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Plant Focus

Quercus skinneri
Quercus skinneri is a Central American oak, distinguished by the large size of its fruit.

Chevithorne Barton A Tribute to Michael Heathcoat Amory

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Christine Battle, Béatrice Chassé, Allen Coombes, and James MacEwen

Published May 2017 in International Oaks No. 28: 13–24


In February 2016, Michael Heathcoat Amory, creator of the renowned oak collection at Chevithorne Barton, friend to many of us, and indefatigable supporter of the International Oak Society, passed away. 

In the Preface to The Oaks of Chevithorne Barton, published in 2009, Michael wrote, “When I started to collect, I did so because oaks had such variety, and encompass so many outstanding species, and also because oaks through the ages have been of vital importance to man in so many different ways. I thought then it would be an interesting, if challenging, genus to collect and a quarter of a century later I have not changed my mind.” Not only did he not change his mind, but for 32 years his interest and passion for oaks in general, and in his trees in particular, grew stronger, pushing him ever further in the quest for new taxa, and to expand the garden to find the best spots for planting his oaks.

In tribute to Michael, in these pages are the personal memories of some who had the pleasure of working with him, developing and sharing his passion, along with a few of the very special oaks of Chevithorne Barton that are in turn part of what he has left in heritage to his fellow quercophiles.