News
Iceland’s Best Tree Of 2015 Award Announced

Iceland’s Best Tree Of 2015 Award Announced

Photos by
John Rogers

Published October 16, 2015

Of all the things Iceland is famous for, its trees are not among them. Most Icelandic trees are shivering, skinny little things, with branches close to the trunk, and not too tall. Basically, they’re trying as hard as possible not to be pulled out of the ground by the gale-force winds of winter.

But the Icelandic Gardener’s Association keeps an eye out year-round for particularly unusual or impressive specimens. This year, the winner of Iceland’s best tree is an unusual 11.98m rowan tree that grows at the historic site of Sandfell Oræfi, on the edge of the Vatnajökull glacier.

Planted in 1923, the tree stands near the ruins of the former settlement of Sandfell, visible from the southern ring-road, forming a sort of natural memorial. It’s an unusual sight — Iceland has few prominent broad-branched deciduous trees of this type and height — and it’s especially curious because it stands near one of the most famously storm-battered parts of Iceland’s coastline.

I’ve passed it a few times while driving around the coastline, and remember it well. Here’s a blog entry about the spot from 2014.

“This silver tree looked so alien in the generally treeless and mossy landscape of Iceland. Its branches were widespread and silver, looking at first like a low, blurry cloud against the mountainside. There was something magnetic and magical about this site, which turned out to be a sacred place where a church stood many years before. All that remains of the church is an engraved foundation stone, but the tree still flourishes, against the elements and against the odds.”


News
Iceland’s President Addresses: “Pornography And Decline”

Iceland’s President Addresses: “Pornography And Decline”

by

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, as an honorary guest and a historian himself, will address an evening of talks

News
Christmas Goat Returns, Challenging The Fates Once More

Christmas Goat Returns, Challenging The Fates Once More

by

The Christmas Goat is back again, Fréttablaðið reports, ready to face whatever the elements and aspiring arsonists may throw its

News
Iceland’s Tourism Minister Calls for Tourist Limits

Iceland’s Tourism Minister Calls for Tourist Limits

by

Minister of Tourism Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir has called for limiting the number of visitors to certain sites, RÚV. The

News
In Case You Missed It: The Peace Tower Is Lit Again

In Case You Missed It: The Peace Tower Is Lit Again

by

October 9 saw the annual lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower of Light on Viðey outside of Reykjavík. Created by

News
1,500 Tonnes Of Icelandic Whale Meat On The Way To Japan

1,500 Tonnes Of Icelandic Whale Meat On The Way To Japan

by

Some 1,500 tonnes of whale meat and related whale products were sent to Japan last Saturday, MBL reports. The ship

News
Lutheran Minister Believes Separation Of Church & State In Iceland Should Be Examined

Lutheran Minister Believes Separation Of Church & State In Iceland Should Be Examined

by

A Lutheran minister for the church in Akureyri (seen above) believes that, in light of recent news that national church

Show Me More!