Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Well, now that Ms. Huis has let the proverbial cat out of the bag, I guess I'd better come clean.

I'm a yew lover.

There I said it. I hope you can all accept me and will support me now that I've come out. I'm no longer a closet yew lover.

My path toward yewdaism began when I was 17 years old, before I even knew about yews. My mom and I took a trip to Europe for a month where we visited Blarney Castle, in Blarney, County Cork, Ireland.
Blarney Castle has extensive gardens attached to it with numerous old yew trees. I have a picture of me, at 17, in a black, stone-washed, jean jacket sitting in the limb of this tree.

At the time, I didn't know that this was a yew tree. I just knew that it was a really cool tree. Then as I grew older and started thinking about the tree more, I started wondering what kind of tree it was. I was able to confirm that it was a yew tree when I went back to Ireland with my wife in 2003. I was hooked.

This yew tree is a major pilgrimage site for yew lovers. We even moved to Blarney for two years where I lived within just a few miles of it. I have since returned to the rest of the world to teach others and evangelize about the joys of yewdaism.

If anyone is going to Blarney Castle, this tree can be found at an elevation of 127 feet at north 51 degrees, 55 minutes, 45.54 seconds and west 8 degrees, 34 minutes, 4.09 seconds. Once you get into the gardens, follow the main path through the tunnel under the road. Stay on the path, past the elephant ears and it will be on your right.

There are a lot of yews in the landscape of the current community we live in, but they tend to be used as accent plants. This is good, but there is so much more that can be done with yews! Too many people have fallen sway to the false Society of the Arbor Vitae (treasonous splitters), somehow believing that they make a better hedge.

I have begun my evangelical work by starting a yew hedge around the House of 42 Doors. To date, I've put 66 yews (195 feet) in the ground, and more are coming this fall or next year.

Long live the yew!


Syl said...

Tolkein trees! I did not even think to consider that they would survive here.

Mr. Kluges said...

Well, odds are that the trees Tolkien would have grown up with were either an Irish Yew, or some similar cultivar. Unfortunately for those of us in the Midwest, they are viable only to Zone 6. But there are are other yews that will withstand Zone 4 or 5.

The hybrid yews (taxes x media) should do fine in the Midwest, and there are many different shapes - columnar, globe, horizontal, etc, so you really need to decide what you want it for and then choose accordingly.

If you ever hope to get a yew tree to look like the one in the post though, you'd better figure out a way to live as long as Tolkien's elves. Yews grow slowly.

Pusher said...

That is a gorgeous tree.

With a heavy heart, I'm pulling out the last of our yews this year. They're a variety that's susceptible to winter burn, and now that the maple is gone the poor things just crisp up to a golden brown.

I'm sort of on a juniper kick right now. Want to suggest the very best winter-burn-resistant yews for me to have flanking my front steps instead? I'm willing to be converted. :-)

Mr. Kluges said...

One good choice for winter burn yews might be Taxus x media 'Tauntonii'. I looked at using them for the front hedge, but couldn't find them at a reasonable price. They were two to three times the cost of what I ended up using. They are a spreading yew, and very winter burn resistant. Four to six of them should eventually fill the foundation. If you are really stuck on a juniper though, try this one. It's the juniper at my parents house and has performed well. :)