1 January 2015

The Original Cathedral

Douglas and Claire Cook visited Europe and Britain in 1936. While there Douglas drew the outlines and proportions of several British cathedrals including Westminster, Ely, Canterbury, and Salisbury.

After his return he started planting Cabin Park. In 1940 he planted the shape of Westminster Abbey, using Lawson cypress to make the cross like shape of the abbey. You can still trace this outline. In the mid 1950s, the foliage of the cypress came down to ground level and made the interior private. Shading has affected this and now the ’Walls’ are quite open. He also planted the mountain ash Eucalyptus regnans up the nave as pillars. Then they were silver to ground level.

At the far end was a bush clipped in the shape of an alter and another for a pulpit. There were also windows cut into the sides of the Lawson cypress. The final touch was a blue spruce at the alter end pruned into the shape of the cross.

Everything was planted too close and the effect has now been lost but we still see it as The Cathedral. The middle Eucalyptus on the left is the tallest tree in the arboretum, measuring 53m in 2003.