The Harry Potter Tree

Early in the morning of September 22nd we walked along the main road on the edge of Woodstock to an entrance to the Blenheim Park grounds. I marked the route we wanted to take with orange highlighter. When we entered through the gate we immediately saw the path closure signs because of the on going dredging taking place in the Queen Pool. We diverted to take the green highlighted way around the pool across the bridge and down to the ‘Harry Potter’ Tree which is on the shore of the Great Lake.

Standing on the bank of The Lake in a historic landscape below Blenheim Palace is a Cedar of Lebanon known as The Harry Potter Tree for its role in the 2007 film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Perhaps the Harry Potter Tree should more accurately be called The Severus Snape Tree, for the scene filmed here was centred around Professor Snape’s memories of a time when, as a student at Hogwarts, he was bullied by Harry Potter’s father while sitting under the tree. The scene is important, for it gives us an understanding of why Snape is so hostile towards Harry.

To counter a common misunderstanding, the Harry Potter Tree at Blenheim is not the Whomping Willow! The tree used for the Whomping Willow in the films stood on the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire. And, just to confuse things further, it was not a willow at all, but a yew.

The Harry Potter Tree was probably planted during ‘Capability Brown’s’ landscape work on Blenheim Park. Over the years 1763-1774 Brown carried out extensive work at Blenheim, transforming the Palace grounds into a picturesque landscape garden on a vast scale, with sinuous waterways and viewpoints created by carefully planted clumps of trees.

The Column of Victory.

This column was built in 1727-30 by Lord Herbert, later ninth Earl of Pembroke. It is based on designs by Nicholas Hawksmoor. His designs were based on the pillar in the Piazza Navona, Rome. It was built to commemorate the Duke of Marlborough’s military successes.

We walked back to Woodstock and had some lunch at The King’s Arms before we ventured back to the Palace Grounds for our tour of the outer courts of Blenheim Palace and some of the grounds.

Later in the day while walking on the opposite shore of the Great Lake we saw the tree in the distance. Zooming in you can see others visiting the tree.

Back to the Present: This week ended with sorrow for us and our whole church family as our beloved church secretary died suddenly on Thursday evening. She was a dear friend to us here in Colville and she will leave a hole that will be hard to fill. She is with her Savior sooner than she expected but she was eagerly waiting for His return so she got an advanced calling Home. I rejoice for her but I will really miss her on this earth and I grieve, too.

Blenheim in April, 2004

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Before we left Oxfordshire on our daughter’s literary graduation gift tour in April of 2004 we stopped by Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim Palace is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. I’m sharing a few photos with quotes from Churchill and one from the Bible.

Winston Churchill was born here in 1874. “At Blenheim I took two very important decisions; to be born and to marry. I am content with the decision I made on both occasions…”

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“Never was so much owed by so many to so few…”

We were really taken aback by the grandeur of these Cedars of Lebanon that were planted on the grounds. We had Katie stand beside it to give some perspective…

img404The Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani) is a conifer that originates from, as its name might suggest, Lebanon and surrounding areas in the Middle East. Original old growth groves of this tree, that is mentioned in the Bible, are now very rare. This tree can live for thousands of years and became a popular exotic specimen tree in European landscape gardens in the 18th, 19th century.

Psalm 92: 12-15 (ESV)

12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree
    and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
    they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
    they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
    he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

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“You have enemies? Good. It means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

We enjoyed our time at Blenheim and toured the grand home with all the amazing artwork and furniture and walked about a small part of the 2100 acres landscaped by Capability Brown!

Now…back to the present. We are thinking about quarantines at this old house as Dear’s ick seems to be spreading to the rest of us here. Oye and Ugh! Hope you are sore throat free and living in a non-coughing zone!!