The linden tree growing in the courtyard of Stenbock House is a northern large-leaved linden (Tilia platyphyllos). It is estimated to be around 150 years old.
In good conditions, a tree of this species can live for as much as a 1,000 years. In Estonia, it is on the northern border of its range, which is why it is hard to predict a 1,000-year future for the tree.
The Stenbock House linden tree stands in solitary splendour with ample space, light, moisture, warmth and shelter for wind – therefore, it is a healthy, young tree.
In spring, the large-leaved linden comes into leaf two weeks earlier, and in autumn also its leaves fall on average two weeks earlier than ordinary linden trees. In warm courtyards in particular, the vegetation period may last even longer if the earth is warm and there is no frost to nip the buds and leaves.
How did the linden tree end up in the courtyard of Stenbock House?
As the tree was originally planted on private property, it is hard to say anything about its origins, unless some specific mention is made of it in the archives of the owners of the house.
Heldur Sander, MSc, who has studied the history of the greenery zone surrounding Tallinn's Old Town, says that in mid-19th century, Toompea – the area where the nobility lived – was supplied with young trees mostly by Alderman H. H. Falck, who also had the Falgi tee street built in 30 days upon a bet (this also meant filling in the moat) and who lived on the territory of the present day Falck Park. He also had several other boulevards built in Tallinn, most of them on properties owned by the nobility
Decorative trees were also grown by the German Horticultural Society on the territory of the present day Hirvepark, and it is from trees of the society that Hirvepark with its dendrological rarities was developed. It was also not uncommon for country manors of the time to have tree nurseries.
Therefore, there are many ways in which the linden tree may have reached the Stenbock House courtyard from a tree nursery.
By Tiina Tallinn, Head Landscaper of the City of Tallinn