04 November 2011

greening the city

Birch trees, Tate Modern

I went to a lovely little exhibition at the tiny Garden Museum at the weekend.  It was pure rus in urbe - all about creating, reclaiming or saving of green space in urban environments, from the natural greening of London bomb sites in the 40s to Richard Reynolds campaign to save the plane tree woods on a deserted council estate in South London.   I came across Helen Babbs book and blog, and was particularly taken with her post on finding fruit for free in the city.  It got me round to thinking about my own favourite trees - the fig tree in Sidney Square where I ate figs for the first time,  the bent eucalyptus in Meath Gardens planted in memory of an Australian Aborigine cricketer who died here on tour, the little plantation of birches in front of Tate Modern.   And it reminded me of the places that might have been covered in trees once.  Like Ratcliffe Orchard.  All that's left of that is an alley that runs from the Highway through Cranford Cottages to Cable Street.  Except one day, I found this in the gutter there ...


and wondered where it might have come from.

6 comments:

Esther Montgomery said...

What you say here is interesting - but I'm being distracted by the photos - they are so good. Indeed, until I read down the page, I thought the caption under the top photo meant it was a picture from an exhibition at the Tate Modern. The red apple in the gutter is both cheerful and poignant.

Joanna said...

What a beautiful post. I will be thinking trees all day now! Silver birches are among my favourite trees of all and I too have a huge affection for the planting in front of Tate Modern.

Joanna said...

Hi Colleen, the link to the plane trees campaign doesn't seem to be working.

colleen said...

Joanna - have fixed the link which now goes direct to a separate site with lots more information about the woods at the Elephant.

Lovely that you too are fond of the Tate Modern birches. I remember some at the Millenium Dome but have no idea whether they are still there following it's morphing into the O2.

Annie said...

Your words and that photograph are utterly captivating ... gorgeous post.

Lara said...

Absolutely lovely post - sounds like a fascinating exhibition and I've never really considered the trees I love in London but am sure I'll think about it since reading this. I'll go to see the exhibition as the Garden Museum is one of my favourite haunts in London. Oh and I had now idea of the Urban Forest at the Elephant depsite working there every day!

Also have you heard about the Peckham Pickler apparently she organises foraging trips in Burgess Park which sound great.