The big tree cannot hold a candle to the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) save in height. The tallest big tree I have heard of is three hundred and fifty feet high; the tallest redwood three hundred and twenty-five. In England the redwood will grow a hundred feet in sixty years. I dare say I had read a hundred descriptions of the redwood before I went to England, in a vain attempt to get a mental picture of it. Yet the essence of its beauty is ridiculously easy to tell. Its foliage effect is simply that of our common hemlock. Add to this a beautiful warm red bark and you have the whole story of its landscape value.
Of course, these points are nothing compared with the enormous height of the redwood. I don't mean to say that any words of mine can convey the feelings one has at the first sight of a hundred-foot conifer, but the redwood is only one of many conifers that reach a hundred feet. The distinctive beauty of the redwood is the feathery grace of its foliage and this is produced in precisely the same way as that of the hemlock, viz., by short, soft needles in two ranks. Hemlock is inferior in height and beauty of bark, but if we plant enough hemlocks we can make the East beautiful enough without sighing for sequoias. England can grow our Western hemlock to perfection but not our Eastern, so far as I have observed, for the latter tree makes several trunks instead of maintaining a single leader as it does here.