The prestigious title of the European Tree of the Year is heading to the Czech Republic.
With a gain of 47,226 votes, the pine called Guardian of the Flooded Village left the other rivals far behind. Silver medal goes to Croatia, where Gingko from Daruvar obtained 28,060 votes, close behind in third place the Russian Kalmykia can celebrate, the local Lonely Poplar ended up with 27,411 votes.
A total of 285,174 votes were cast during the popular contest this year. Closure of the European borders has moved the announcement of the results to the internet, the final order and video of the announcement can be found at www.treeoftheyear.org.
The announcement of the results, which traditionally takes place in the European Parliament in Brussels, went online this year.
“We wondered how to convey the joy of the results to sixteen European communities. Finally, we combined the tree stories and personal testimonies of the first three finalists into a video that can now be watched and shared among tree fans across borders,” summarizes Josef Jary from the Environmental Partnership Association, the contest organiser.
The 350-year-old pine grows on the rocky headland of the dam. Its story relates to the flooded village of Chudobín, which ceased to exist due to the construction of a dam. According to a legend narrated by locals, a devil sat under the pine in the night and played the violin. However, it is much more likely that they were hearing the strong winds blowing over the valley. This pine tree is not only an important landmark but also an impressive testimony to its high resistance to climate change and human impact.
The contest was organised by the Environmental Partnership Association and the European Landowners’ Organisation under the auspices of MEPs Ludek Niedermayer and Michal Wiezik.
The Witch’s Yew - Taxus baccata
This Yew Tree, Taxus baccata, situated in the Rock Close on the grounds of Blarney Castle Estate, has
been estimated by experts to be in excess of 600 years old. A folly, The Witch’s Kitchen, was built by
the Jeffreyes family under the already existing yew tree in the 1750s as part of the famous Rock Close
Legend has it, the area is the home of the Blarney Witch, who first told mortals of the Blarney Stone’s
magic powers i.e. the gift of eloquence. The Witch, imprisoned by day in the Witch Stone, is released
after nightfall, only to be banished to the witch stone again at dawn. Some early morning visitors have
claimed to have seen dying embers of a fire in her kitchen.
With its huge crown, deeply furrowed bole, and zigzagging roots carpeting the stone mound under
which exists a cave, this is one magnificently “monstrous” Yew Tree. In its awe-inspiring formidable
presence, one can easily understand how, over the centuries, such a tree and setting have sparked
people’s imaginations, and led to the emergence of many magical and otherworldly legends.
'' The European Tree of the Year is a contest that highlights the significance of trees in the natural and cultural heritage of Europe and the importance of the ecosystem services trees provide. The contest is not looking for the most beautiful tree, but for a tree with a story, a tree rooted in the lives and work of the people and the community that surrounds it.''