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Greenwich Visitor THE July 2013 Page 10
FAVOURITES. Everyone has them. I have a favourite sister, though I’m too discreet to say which. But when it comes to the Trees of Greenwich Park I could be persuaded to list my Top 10.
Starting at Blackheath Gate, No1 is easy. Horse Chestnut forms the fine avenue of trees that line the road from here to Wolfe Statue. They are one of the most arresting sights in any London park.
Turning right towards the Flower Garden for the Sweet Chestnut, the most common tree in the Park. Many of the avenues are lined with Sweet Chestnut, including Bower Avenue, the finest and longest of all. Two of these are originals planted when the av- enue was laid out in the 1660s.
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ART OF THE MUDLARK
JULY, AUGUST, SEPT 5 6
Entering the Flower Garden and turning left we pass the Kentucky Coffee-Tree, which is outstanding as it has the largest and most divided leaves (double pinnate) of any in the Park. It’s one of the last to burst bud and in autumn these leaves turn golden.
in my Top 10 and it is this one, just further down the path: The double white-flowered form of our native cherry.
2 3 4
There are over 30 types of Cherry Tree in the Park but I only have room for one
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Beside the lake is the Dawn Redwood – a deciduous conifer with amazing red- dish brown bark which develops into flowing ridges at the base. We have cleared poorly grown shrubs around it so that its dis- tinctive trunk can be seen.
Past the lake toward the flower lawns is one of my real favourites, the Shag Bark Hickory. The bark really is shaggy, as the name sug- gests and the leaves turn butter yellow in autumn. It’s nuts are edible, like its close relative the pecan nut. Just around the cor- ner is a fine specimen of Paper Bark or Canoe Birch.
Next to it is the truly bizarre Maidenhair Tree or Ginkgo. The distinctive half-moon waxy leaves are like no other and this most ancient of trees dates back 260 million years.
We’re on the Cedar lawns and I must cheat a little – three species of Cedar grow here, the Atlantic Cedar, Cedar of Lebanon and the Deodar but I shall count them all as No8.
Tie hundreds of big white handkerchiefs to a tree and you have one of the most unusual in the park, the Hand- kerchief Tree. There is a large specimen in the Royal Observa- tory Garden.
Walking back to Black- heath Gate are two huge London Planes on the edge of Rangers Field. Planes are the essential London tree so I could not leave them out. That said, many lovely trees did not make the list, there was no room this time round for Eng- lish or Red Oak, Lime or Beech.
1519 Henry VIII recorded dancing under Old Oak with
If I were to make the list next year I’d reserve the right to change my mind...Just as I would if asked to name my favourite sister!
1661 Sir William Boreman petitions Charles II in
August and begins planting trees and laying out the
1662 Layout complete. Although the avenues have
original avenues. He spends £182 12s planting elm, birch , hawthorn, holly and ash, plus £92 14s for 600 elm and chestnuts from Lesnes Abbey in Abbey Wood.
1796 Sum of £129 is received for sale of 37 trees:
1790 Ten apple trees planted by King’s gardener.
altered slightly the general layout is same today.
oak, elm, ash and chestnut.
1800 High winds in November blow down
1812 Tree survey lists 2,970 in the Park: 1,393 elm;
841 chestnut; 651 oak; 42 fir; 21 sycamore; and 6 beech.
1894 Last of Scots pines planted by Boreman
1848 The one tree of One Tree Hill blown down.
1897 A 15ft British oak is planted to commemorate
in 1664 were felled.
1941 Tall chestnut trees topped to improve sights
Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.
1975 Dutch Elm disease led to the felling of 100
of anti-aircraft guns. mature elms. BACK NEW LOCAL BREWERY
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A NEW brewery is launching here – and offering you the chance to
own the ale you drink. Hop Stuff plans to open a brewery in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, within six months, with the public owning shares. It is rasing start-up funds by finding investors online and is half way to it’s total of £50,000. Owner James
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He adds: “Great beer is something everyone can enjoy.” See Page 7
LOTTA BOTTLE: Hop Stuff
1977 Avenue of trees planted before Queen’s
1987 Great Hurricane of October 16th; some 400
House to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee.
trees blown over.
2012 The Trees of Greenwich Park are seen by
1992 Duke of Edinburgh planted new oak tree.
billions around the world as it hosts Olympic Equestrian events.
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Picture Mike Meynell. Follow him @MikeM67 and see more photos at www.flickr.com/photos/mikem67
Paper-bark Birch Betula papyrifera. Deciduous conical tree. White bark peels to reveal pale orange underbark.
Kentucky Coffee-Tree Gymnocladus dioicus Big, bold, bushy American tree. Look for light green fruit pods. Example in Flower Garden E13.
BY GREENWICH PARK MANAGER GRAHAM DEAR SEE PAGES 11&15
English Oak Quercus robur. Decidous tree loved for its timber. Hardy, grows up to 25m and can last for centuries. Examples throughout Park. Elizabeth’s Oak can be seen at Supermap ref G12
Turkey Oak Quercus cerris Named after the country, not the bird. Taller but often weaker than traditional oak. Darker, more cracked trunks. Examples throughout the Park
Hornbeam Carpinus betulus. Oval-shaped with twisted, trunk. Tough wood used for butchers blocks. See them at Lover’s Walk G11 & boating lake I10
Shag-bark Hickory Carya ovarta. Walnut family. Gets its name from its shaggy bark, hanging off the trunk. Grows to around 8m. D12.
Dawn Redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Deciduous conifer, whose needles fall in autumn. Conical. Grows fast up to 40m (130ft). D13.
London Plane Platanus x Hispanica. Half capital’s trees are plane. Thrives in tough conditions. Reach 30m (100ft). Look for seed balls in spring. Good examples at C11.
Lime Tilia x europaea. No relation to the fruit. UK’s tallest broad-leafed tree at 130ft (40m). Look for them on main avenues.
Maidenhair tree Ginkgo biloba. Tall with a broad top. Can reach 50m (164ft) and last 100s of years. Good example Supermap D13 near lake.
Robinia Robinia pseudoacacia Rounded crown with trunk of 1m diameter with sharply-spined shoots.
Cedar of Lebanon Cedrus libani. Huge, with a flat top and spreading horizontal branches. Kids love to play under these vast conifers which can grow up to 40m (130ft). Many in the Flower Gardens Supermap E13.
Beech Fagus sylvatica. Historic deciduous and broadleafed tree. Huge and imposing up to 42m (140ft). Examples near One Tree Hill H11.
Hazel Corylus avellana. Bush-like, with bronze trunks sprouting from the base. Grows to 5m, tall usually under the canopy of other trees.
you identify? Earlier this year we gave you a fabulous Birds of Greenwich Park poster (it’s online at www.TheGreenwichVisitor.com
). Now here’s our Trees of Greenwich Park
WHO doesn’t treasure a walk in Greenwich Park? There are 183 acres of precious green space inside the oldest enclosed Royal Park in London. It’s beauty – combined with majestic views of the capital – is one of the reasons we are a World Heritage Site. But how many of its different trees can
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July 2013 No 33
FREE TREE GUIDE INSIDE
Holly Ilex aquifolium. British evergreen with distinctive red berries. Dense, prickly leaves. Can reach 20m (65ft) but usually smaller.
Silver Birch Betula pendula. White or silvery tree trunks make it easy to identify. Many here.
Tulip Tree Liriodendron tulipifera Giant U.S. tree introduced in 1600s. 50m (165 ft). Yellow flowers like tulips
Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa. Native since Roman times. Some in Bower Avenue date from 1662. Supermap C12 & F14. Loved for edible seeds. Up to 35 metres. No relation to...
TREES OF GREENWICH PARK FABULOUS GREENWICH VISITOR POSTER
guide, to help you make the most of your next walk. Our thanks to the Park manager Graham Dear and the Forestry Commission for their help in putting it together. And to reader Mike Meynell for his superb photograph (below) of Greenwich Park and the magnificent tree-lined view to Vanbrugh Castle. The Royal Parks’ tree guide is available from its office at Blackheath Gates. Read about Park Manager Graham Dear’s favourite trees in his regular column, left.
Wild cherry Prunus avium. Their fabulous flowers are a highlight of the Park. Don’t miss the avenue of Cherry trees near tennis courts D11. Can reach 25m.
Field Maple Acer campestre UK’s only native maple grows to around 10m. Often used in hedgerows. Stradivarius used its wood for violins. Various examples in Park.
Horse Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum. Classic conker tree. Grow up 35m. White blooms in summer. Majestic line in Blackheath Avenue C12 & D11 was planted in 1920s.
d Zoe’s coming to Blackheath
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