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Plant Focus

Quercus macdougallii
A rare oak endemic to the Sierra Juárez in Oaxaca

In Our Garden

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Béatrice Chassé

Published May 2021 in International Oaks No. 32: 155–82

Introduction

It will have escaped the attention of no one that the year 2020 was not a particular good one for human beings wishing to travel from anywhere to anywhere on the planet Earth. As summer reached its midpoint I was still naively hopeful that my planned trip to Oaxaca (Mexico) would be possible and consequently continued exploring from my comfortable office, as one can these days, the various herbaria and library collections stuffed with the treasures needed to familiarize myself with the oaks of that region, corresponding all the while with Mexican colleagues ready to share this adventure with me. Before the end of July however, reality had to be faced: the only place I would be travelling in 2020 would be in our garden. As it happens, 2020 was an exceptional year for growth irrespective of genus and point of origin (see Table 1) due, I think, to an ideal mix of abundant (but not constant) rain from March to June together with as many sunny days of mild heat. All in all, therefore, it seemed to me a perfect time to share my thoughts, and those of others, about the Arboretum des Pouyouleix, created 17 years ago. A reflection of sorts on almost two decades of planting oaks and travelling ‘round the world to find them in their natural habitat, of our successes and failures, of what we have learned – the whole of it inextricably linked to invaluable moments of camaraderie and passion.

References

Chateaubriand, F.R. de. 1861. Oeuvres complètes de Chateaubriand. Vol. 3. Paris: Editions Garnier Frères.

Sackville-West, V. 1951. In Your Garden (entry April 6, 1947). Michael Joseph, Ltd.