Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 4 April 2014

Separated at Birth? Birches

Two plantings of birch I found recently in London - very different in their style and effect
Compare and contrast the birches outside Tate Modern (left) and those close to Regent's Park in St Andrew's Place (next to the Royal College of Physicians).

The idea behind the Tate's birches could be due to the greater footfall this area gets, or to echo the sparseness of the architecture behind it and the modern art the building holds. Or perhaps both?

Apparently there'll be foxgloves and alliums beneath the birches in St Andrew's Place later in the year. A change of scene is something to look forward to.

We also have a line of birches at the entrance to our estate at the top of the hill. Initially it was underplanted with lavender, but these were replaced with grass once they'd become woody. I suppose it's cheaper for the council to look after, but perhaps it's time for an estate-led makeover...


  1. Lovely to see that trees are still being planted. I wonder if they'll have to thin out the ones at the Tate in a few years. I imagine they're wonderful in summer, great for little people to run through when they're tired of looking at piles of bricks and fluorescent lighting tubes. (I should say I do actually like Tate Modern, just not all of the things in it.)

    1. I was wondering about the need to thin as well CJ as I had a conversation with the garden team at Holt Farm garden last year, who are considering whether they need to with a similarly dense planting. It'll be interesting to return later in the year and see how this looks when the trees are in leaf.

  2. I still remember seeing those birches in front of Tate Modern when they were just planted, it took awhile to get the effect they desired but got there in the end.

    1. When I first saw the Tate planting, I was thinking "why haven't they underplanted?", but now I have the Regent's Park planting to compare it with, I can see how that wouldn't work. It's all about the sense of place.

  3. They both give a very different feel and suit their space, for me personally, I prefer the Regents Park planting but I just love silver birches anyway, no matter where they are!

    1. So do I Pauline, but it's been a good lesson for me to put these 2 pictures side by side and see that the Regent's Park planting wouldn't work in the Tate's context.


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