here you will do well to linger; here our highest good is pleasure”

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Dark Horse

May 8, 2020
⁣ ⁣

There were few things in life British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) liked more than his trees.⁣

He was famously quoted as saying: ‘when I come to Hughenden I pass the first week sauntering about the park examining all my trees, and the second examining my books’.⁣ ⁣IMG_5146_20-05-08_Broken_Clock_Lingering_Vodka_Red_Horse_Chestnut.jpg ⁣Disraeli was the 1st Earl of Beaconsfield and Hughendon was his 680 acre parkland estate in Buckinghamshire, which is now run by the National Trust.⁣

⁣The estate is also home to the largest horse chestnut tree in the British Isles which is a 300 year old specimen with a girth of over 24 ft.

⁣It is easy to spot horse chestnut trees in May thanks to their bright flowers. This particular red horse chestnut is a variety that appeared in the early 1800s and is crossed with the red buckeye, hence its blushing red blooms.⁣ ⁣IMG_5126_20-05-08_Broken_Clock_Lingering_Vodka_Red_Horse_Chestnut.jpg ⁣Horse chestnuts were voted Britain’s favourite tree and it’s little wonder thanks to their towering majesty - ideal for providing cool shade on hot Summers days - as well as their popular harvest of conkers in the Autumn.⁣

⁣No doubt Disraeli was able to collect some champion conkers from his Hughendon tree 150 years ago and while we don’t know what tactics he employed when playing the game, he is credited with coming up with the expression ‘dark horse’, so perhaps he was a successful underdog?⁣

⁣We took a sunny afternoon jaunt to photograph this red horse chestnut and caught the dark horse riding a cloud.⁣