Plane Trees

The Plane Tree is the staple of London’s streets and squares. They were planted at a time when London was the smog capital of the world because they were resistant - and even thrived - on pollution. They are hybrids, and consequently infertile, and grown from grafts rather than seeds.

The problem with them is that they are now mostly huge and their leaves create a canopy that in the height of summer can make many streets and squares dark and gloomy. A sunny day in spring is free of this gloom and gardens are full of sunshine and dappled shade. Westbourne Gardens (below) is a perfect example. Trees are wonderful - but too many and to large, particularly planes, can be a mixed blessing.