Close to the centre of Queen Mary’s Gardens, not far from the Open Air Theatre, stands a magnificent Blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica glauca).
It’s already 20m tall and could easily grow almost as tall again. This particular specimen is one of two survivors of a trio of cedars planted around the same time – can you spot the other cedar nearby?
As the name suggests, the Blue Atlas cedar is native to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria, where it can form whole forests as the dominant species. It likes well-drained soil, but otherwise isn’t too fussy. An evergreen, it’s particularly striking in winter with open, almost horizontal branches turning up a little at the ends, and bearing clusters of stiff green or blue-green needles. The barrel-shaped cones can stay on the tree for several years, eventually releasing the seeds to leave a central spike which remains on the branch.