GREAT ELM OF NUEVO BAZTÁN
8. GREAT ELM OF NUEVO BAZTÁN
Juan de Goyeneche, knowing all the european luxury and the urban development of Madrid, chose the elm to cast a shadow and to decorate the main avenues of the complex. This area of Nuevo Baztán was plenty of elms, due to its limestone soil, full of subterranean aquifers that provide enough humidity to the soil, which is vital for the elms. The nearby toponymy is quite revealing: “Villar del Olmo (elm)”, “Olmeda (elm wood) de las Fuentes”. Rivas, a near village, is the only place in Spain which keeps a living elm wood these days.
In Nuevo Baztán, elms grew so big and thick that the avenues became real tunnels. Travellers walked through this vegetable tunnel of shadow and freshness, coming out to light just at the entrance of the palace, emphasizing the esplendour of the complex. This image lasted until the 70s-80s aproximately, when the Dutch elm disease stroke the elms all across Europe.
This great elm was the only survivor here in Nuevo Baztán. It was affected but resisted the attack, becoming a beautiful tree with a great top covering the whole width of the street. Contemplating this isolated elm, we can imagine the look of the avenues of Nuevo Baztán three centuries ago.
This great elm is included in the Catalogue of Singular Trees of Madrid region. This specimen is 20 meters high, its top has a 18 meters perimeter and its trunk reaches 6 meters of perimeter.