This year made a positive start for the Trees Committee of Friends of Lewes with the planting of a new Elm tree, Ulmus “New Horizon”, at Lewes Cemetery on January 15th. The tree was awarded to us by the Tree Council as the result of a successful application for one of the thirty trees they wished to donate to Tree Wardens to celebrate thirty years of their Tree Wardens Scheme. In our application we explained the nature conservation value of Lewes Cemetery, which is designated as a “Local Wildlife Site”. It provides a good habitat for a wide range of pollinators, and the rare Long-Tailed Blue Butterfly, Long-horned Nomad Bee and Brown-banded Carder Bee were all recorded there in 2020. Elms are the sole food plant of White-letter Hairstreak butterflies and this species has suffered as a result of Dutch Elm Disease.
The Ulmus “New Horizon” was introduced in 1957 by Eugene Smalley, who was determined to “put a smile on the landscape” by creating disease-resistant Elms that could tolerate the harshest of conditions. The tree is said to be 100% immune to disease and able to grow despite drought and floods. It is the same variety as the four lovely Elms which we planted on St. Anne’s Hill as a joint project with ESCC in 2017-2019.
Our tree is planted at the top end of the Cemetery, just inside the gate nearest to the Winterbourne Hollow entrance. We are very grateful to Lewes District Council, especially Chris Bibb, LDC Specialist Adviser, for their permission and support in planting this tree – and the twenty-seven other trees which we planted at the Cemetery in November.