Patreon World Exclusive: News on Tolkien’s favourite tree, the Pinus Nigra

I am quite delighted to share with you news that nobody else seems to know about! 

Please note: I will share this piece of news with the worldwide Tolkien community on July 9, 2020, at 4 p.m. You are the first to know – but please do not spoil me sharing this amazing piece of news before so keep it to yourself. Thank you!  🥰 

You may remember that in 2014 Tolkien’s favourite tree at the Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum (OBGA) lost two of its limbs and had to be cut down for security reasons – I did a blog post on this back then. There was quite a bit of discussion on what should happen to the tree and I have to say that some ‘Tolkien fans’ behaved abominably at the time – but now we are finally seeing the fruits of the labour begun back then!

400th Anniversary celebrations of the Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum

Coincidentally, the first pictures I sent out to patrons of the higher tiers in June were photos taken by me and my former wife Sara at the OBGA and I will include one of them here:

Over the years I had sent an email or two to the press office of the University of Oxford asking more about the Pinus Nigra but never received an answer. And what with the unfortunate happenings when the tree was felled I could perfectly understand for the OBGA to lay low on the issue.

Now, imagine my surprise when I recently (again) contacted the press office of the OBGA and received an answer – so here is the scoop!

  • Much of the wood from the tree has been cut into large thick  strips/planks laid down for seasoning and eventual use to manufacture  objects
  • They have a number of maturing young plants propagated from seed from the original tree and the best will be  planted close to the spot of the original as part of a new Literary Garden.
  • As part of their celebrations for their 400th anniversary  in 2021 they are producing a special whisky with local  distiller TOAD – it has been maturing for 4 years and will be called  Black Pine Whisky. Its stoppers will contain a small piece of the wood  and some bottles will be available in special presentation boxes made  from the pine. 

In addition to this you will find those elements interesting: 

Oxford Plants 400

As a celebration and count-down to this anniversary, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, together with the Oxford University Herbaria and the Department of Plant Sciences,  will highlight 400 plants of scientific and cultural significance. One  plant will be profiled weekly, and illustrated with images from Oxford  University’s living and preserved collections.

Plant 88 is the Pinus Nigra. They also have the Twitter account Plants400 and posted Plant 88 on July 24, 2015 and July 28, 2015, including the infamous Tolkein!

So you can see that the OBGA seems to live up to the expectations at the time but did it at its own pace. If you have ever worked at a similar institution you will certainly agree that this kind of work takes time and the money to be actually able to do anything – and I am glad to see that next year I’ll definitely be buying a bottle of whisky! 🙂

I am very glad I could share this with you!

P.S. Please do not share this piece of news before July 9, 4 p.m. Thank you.

P.P.S. I know Patreon World Exclusive seems a bit much but hey, let’s be fancy *g*

Marcel Aubron-Bülles

A Tolkien fan for twenty-five years (and more to come...)Founding chairman of the German Tolkien Society, Co-Founder of Ring*Con, Co-Founder of the ITF, host, presenter and fantasy expert