Three months after the Holy Thorn tree at Glastonbury was written off as dead and destroyed, a result of a vicious vandal attack, new buds have started to appear.
Local legend says that Joseph of Arimathea travelled to Wearyall Hill after the Crucifixion, tired after this journey, he stuck his staff in the ground and went to sleep. It is said that the staff once belonged to Jesus and that when Joseph woke from his rest the staff had grown into a thorn tree.
The site became a popular destination for Christian travellers.
Despite the Christian mythology around the tree it was a pagan wizard who saved it. The local council turned to Peter Frearson, who runs a horticultural business, and who has the nickname “Garden Wizard”.
Talking to press, Frearson outlined the recovery technique he applied to the tree.
“We applied a dressing of pine resin and beeswax to stop further moisture and rain getting in, keep out bacteria and fungus, and applied nutrients.
“We covered it in horticultural fleece, then bubble wrap, then more fleece.
“Soon after we replaced the bubble wrap with hessian.
“We mulched around the base of the tree with well-rotted wood chips to keep the moisture off the ground, and we’ve also driven spikes into the ground and filled the holes with compost and bonemeal, and we’ll do it again soon.”
In Pure Spirit
Is the tree actually 2,000 years old? No. In fact, the “Glastonbury Thorn” is a form of Common Hawthorn. It’s recorded that the first famous Glastonbury Thorn was cut down during the English Civil War circa ~1640/1650. However, cuttings from the trees have allowed the species to live on.
If the “current” Glastonbury Thorn had not recovered then the backup plan was to use another cutting to replace the vandalised tree. This is easier said that done as most attempts to grow a Glastonbury Holy Thorn from a direct cutting tends to revert to the normal hawthorn tree.