To celebrate the new millennium, thousands of yew trees were distributed around Britain to churches, parishes, schools, colleges, hospitals, community centres, ancient woodlands and public parks. They had been propagated from over thirty ancient yew trees over 2,000 years old.
Many Millennium Yews found a place in churchyards, often alongside some very ancient yews but the new arrivals were also planted the length and breadth of the country from Canisbay, the UK’s most northern parish, to the Isles of Scilly, where the yew was delivered by HRH The Prince of Wales. The incredibly long life of yews means that by the next millennium 1 in 20 of the Millennium Yews could still be alive.
The English Yew, Taxus baccata, is steeped in history and revered for its medicinal and magical qualities. Long lived, up to 2000 year or more, it will certainly be a lasting memorial to someone or something we love!
Broadly conical, later domed head, the Yew is a slow growing (worth the wait) evergreen with fern-like leaves on horizontal branches. Bright red berries feed the birds and wildlife throughout the winter months and its deep thick habit provides a safe warm haven for lots of birds.
It makes an impressive and magical specimen tree in large gardens and parks. Famous for topiary, it is easily clipped to any shape. Growing happily in sun or shade, Yews are fully hardy, will tolerate most soils and situations, including chalk and shade but good drainage is essential. Although slow growing they make the most marvelous, elegant hedges, protective from the wind, humans and other animals. These days they can be bought bare rooted or rootballed, establishing a hedge in no time.
The wonderful Yew in our garden is a source of great delight as we watch the variety of small birds popping in and out of the magical tree. A marvellous home with its own food supply for birds.
Height in maturity 25m x 15m x 2m / 80ft x 50ft
Common Name: English Yew
Latin Name: Taxus baccata
Soil: Tolerant of most soil
Habit: Broadly conical, later domed
Position: Sun or shade
Flowering period: Spring
Colour: Red berries
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Eventual Height/Spread: 25m x 15m / 80ft x 50ft
Special features: Evergreen needle like leaves and horizontal branches
Symbolism, Folklore & Old Wives Tales The Tree of Knowledge and revered by the Druids and then the Christians, Yews have come to Symbolize Resurrection. It is very unlucky to chop down a Yew and considering how long it takes to grow, it would indicate a vandal, a person of little sensibility. And did you know the bows used at Agincourt to win the war against the French were made from the English Yew.