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The Beautiful Lime Tree in Laurel Park
(Also known as the Linden Tree.)
Trees in the Laurel Park area are shown on the 1883 OS Map and this may well be one of them. It’s near the children’s play area.
This tree favours the Northern Temperate Zone, and especially the British Isles. It can grow to 130 feet, and will perfume the surrounding area with its scent when in flower. Greatly loved by bees, its honey is one of the most popular in the world. Linden tea is enjoyed on the continent, made from a diffusion of the dried flowers. Another interesting feature of limewood is that it never becomes worm-eaten. One of its uses in the past was as fodder, and perhaps our lime tree fed some of the local cattle.
Wood carvers love it for its ease in working, being white, close-grained, smooth and allowing carving of fine detail. One of the most famous woodcarvers in the 17th century was Grinling Gibbons, who worked mostly in limewood. Examples of his exquisite work can be seen in many grand houses, including Hampton Court Palace. He carved cascades of fruit, leaves, flowers, foliage, fish, and birds. He even produced a cravat made of limewood in a perfect imitation of Venetian needlepoint. The "cravat" was so lifelike that a foreign visitor was fooled into thinking it the standard dress of the English country gentleman!
Thanks to Sheila Crowson for the details and pictures.
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