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an emerald ray, in whose aisles we may be tranquil and cool, while winged voices hold choral service around !

The air and the soils around London are favourable for almost all our English park and forest trees.* The deciduous and the ever-green trees alike—the elm, the chestnut, the oak, and their congeners, that dress and undress with the season, and the sombre pines and cedars—take root cordially and tenaciously in the loam, the gravel, or clay, around London. Where shall we go, then, that we may have these favourite trees of our environs all within reach for comparison? “To the Bois de Boulogne,” satirically

” remarks some friend, fresh from those two thousand acres of wild wood, pleasure garden, and lake.f Well, we have not got our Bois de Boulogne ; but let us resort to one of those London Parks which inspired the conception of the Bois in the mind of Napoleon III. Let us away to the majestic chestnuts and elms of our Kensington Gardens. The place is no mean one in comparison, nor is it meanly circumscribed. It is three hundred acres in extent, it forms a continuous chain with three other parks that occupy nearly five hundred acres, and is virtually in one area with them.

From Cheapside, then, to our Royal London parks and Kensington Gardens. As we descend Ludgate Hill, let us turn for a moment to look at the majestic plane-tree in Stationers' Hall Court. It was planted by Mr. Broome, of the Temple Gardens, some thirtyfive years since. It is a notable and valuable tree, to which we will return on another occasion. The young poplars ("Dutch balsams"), the small elms, and the planes around St. Clement Danes Church are the next trees on our route. Now we pass those queer samples of city arboriculture, the standard bay-trees in tubs in Trafalgar Square ! They stand among the granite capstan posts— a juxtaposition strange and toy-like.

St. James's Park is full of trees of interest for both the ordinary visitor, the landscape gardener, and the botanist. Let us tell you at once what trees you look for in vain. You will not find here a pine or a beech, and we believe not an oak. Poplar trees of the most opposite varieties are the peculiar features of St. James's

* The scarcity in our parks and beech, is perhaps most to be regretted. suburbs of that genuine forester, the + Written in the year 1869.

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Park, and the trees most worthy our observation.

We once made a list of a dozen varieties of the poplar on the south side of the ornamental water. Now, the chief lesson we shall get here is one of unlearning. How common the impression that the name “poplar” applies only to the tall and spiry tree of erect and towering branches. The “Lombardy poplar” is the name by which this spire-shaped one should always be called. Now look, by way of contrast, at that group of trees that stand by the lake in front of the New Foreign Office. Their contour is curved and round, their branches are pendulous and weeping. Their drooping form reminds you of that congener of the poplars, the familiar willow, that

Grows aslant the brook
And shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.

But the remarkable group before us are poplars-poplars of the Caucasus, introduced into this country in the year 1816. But if the date of these is recent, we must not imagine that the spire-shaped tree is the ancestor of all the varieties of poplar. On the contrary, the Lombardy poplar was only introduced from Italy to England in the last century—in the year 1758. It was only, then, from this recent date that it has begun to diversify our landscapes, giving that air to them which no other tree so well supplies. Good authorities tell us that it is only a modern variety of the good “old English Black," its widely-branching parent.

Let us now round the east end of this lake in St. James's Park, and gain the southern bank, for there the poplars are in still greater show. Here is a tree labelled “The maple-leaved white poplar." This again is a wide-branching tree, and utterly unlike in contour to the familiar spiry Lombardy poplar. Observe the downy white which lines the under-side of the leaf, and which made the tree famous in ancient times. Even as we look, it

Whitens fitfully with sudden bloom
Of leaves breeze-lifted, much as when a shoa
Of devious minnows wheel from where a pike
Lurks balanced 'neath the lily-pads, and whirl
A rood of silver bellies to the day.

Here in St. James's Park is other entertainment than the poplars. The lake is alive with fish and fowl. Here are carp and roach and gudgeon; and the pugnacious stickle-backs infest the lake in myriads. The aquatic birds are a numerous and prosperous community, and the tame and domiciled look of most of them suggests to us comfortable nesting-places on the island, and the watchful care of their keepers. With two or three exceptions, all the birds breed, for the island is well stored with grasses, rushes, and twigs, or supplied with ready-made houses, to encourage their nidification. As they now waddle up the slope in front of us, or launch themselves for a cruise, their species and variety are no unworthy study in exotic and British ornithology.* But we must proceed on our route, not however without the reflection that these fine white swans could ill be spared from the beautiful tree-fringed lake.

The swan on still Saint James's lake,

Floats double, swan and shadow. Among ornamental water-birds, how indispensable is the swan on a lake like this! And yet (as Southey has remarked) in spite of its superb and stately form, the creature is foul and vicious in physiognomy—“there is such a snakishness in its eye, and head, and neck."

On our way through the Green Park to Kensington Gardens we pass the beautiful blossoming pink-thorn, the white-flowered medlar, the laburnum “raining gold," the copper and purple beeches, and that charming "Lady of the Woods," as Coleridge has called it, the silver birch, known to us all by the shining and silvery whiteness of its bark. This delicate, modest, and graceful tree, poor as it sometimes is in foliage, is in some respects the most fascinating of all our foresters.t But let us go on to find the Gothic pine and the courtly chestnut.

* We have seen the following the Heron and the Bittern could be aquatic birds at the St. James's seen here. Park waters during the year. + That the birch is one of the abSwans-black and white. Geese original trees of our island is shown Egyptian, Chinese, Bernacle, Brent, in the great peat-bogs of the north, Bean, White-fronted. Ducks—Man. and nowhere more conclusively than darin, Bahama, Carolina, Buenos in those near Manchester. When Ayres, Muscovy, German - tufted, the peat is removed through the proCommon Shieldrake, Ruddy Shiel- cess of drainage the trunks of birchdrake, Whistling Ducks, Golden- . trees are found embedded deep down, eyed and tufted Divers, Wigeon, with the silvery bark still adhering, Pintail, Gadwall, Teal, Pochards, and as bright as when it grew. Coot, and Moorhen.—Would that


Kensington Gardens, with their leafy cloisters and glades of green light, at length receive us from the garish day. Here is the leafy temple whose long-drawn aisles and fretted vaults, and sweet side-chapels have invited our willing feet from “ the huge world that roars hard by." Here is the dim and arcaded scenery which secludes and tranquillizes you as in a Gothic minster. Here are the great elms, which for strength and fulness of growth can nowhere be excelled, and here, above all at this season, are the grandest of chestnuts, in their richest dress. Why should we Londoners be expected to go annually to Bushey, when the chestnuts of Kensington Gardens are fairly in blossom! The coup d'oeil at Bushey is certainly striking, but what finer individual specimens could be desired than the courtly aristocrats that stand here before us this Saturday afternoon in Kensington Gardens ? How shall we describe them ! Let us rather listen to the words of another :

The Horse Chestnut! that magnificent tree, which in its noble septate leaves and superb pyramids of white blossoms, flushed like sea-shells with pink and yellow, and lighting up every bough to the topmost pinnacle of the glorious fabric, as if with lamps for some jubilee or royal gala, offers us one of the most imposing spectacles in Nature ! *

The horse chestnut is the only common tree in Britain which bears such conspicuous flowers. Not without reason is it still called in some parts of the country “ the Giant's Nosegay.” How preeminently is it a park tree, especially when robed as we now see it, in what Lauder has appropriately called, "all the richness of its velvet drapery."

How did the sumptuous horse chestnut obtain its name? Why horse chestnut ? Here is one explanation :

In examining the bifurcations of the slender branches and twigs, you will observe that the point of juncture of the smaller with the larger shoots takes the form of a horse's fetlock, with the hoof, perfectly modelled, even to the marks of the protruding shoe-nails. Those sprigs that are about as thick as a quill show the formation best; of course its degree of perfection differs in different specimens; to see it is to believe that it ought to be the origin of the tree's name.t

* British and Garden Botany.-L. H. Grindon.

+ This explanation of the etymology of the horse chestnut, although

it is traditional in botanical literature and rural life, is by some considered too ingenious and pretty to be the true

The following alternative is


But our Saturday afternoon with our park and forest trees is now drawing to its close. And yet what delights are here all around us in Kensington Gardens—the glorious chestnuts, the various elms, the drooping silver birches, the gorgeous pink-thorns. These and the firs and the luxurious shrubs we must now leave. Let us look again into our botanical covers, and see that we have the specimens of leaf and twig we have collected on our route. At home we can leisurely compare them with the descriptions in our books, for this is the necessary complement of our excursion to-day, if we desire to make sure of our acquisitions. We shall find that the pleasure of deciphering the trees is a growing one. We shall not only enrich our country walks with a new and intelligent delight on the Saturday afternoon, but we shall make the familiar (yet unknown) tree of the City churchyard, the West End square, and the suburban highway, an object of daily interest and education, and add to the number of our rural companions and friends.

We must now for a time say farewell to Kensington Gardens. “Light thickens” around us, and the leafy vistas are falling into tender glooms. But we take home with us the memory of a Saturday afternoon of Spring spent

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'Mid song of birds, and insects murmuring,
And while the youthful year's prolific art
Of bud, leaf, blade, and flower was fashioning
Abodes where self-disturbance hath no part.

offered in Nature, August 11 & 18,
1870. “ Horse is a very common pre-
fix in the sense of largeness and coarse-
ness. Thus we have horse-radish,
horse-bean, horse-mint, horse-parsley,
horse-leech. These and similar pre-
fixes are common to all languages ;
we have into-Konuvos, a horse-laugh,
“ fièvre de cheval,” a violent fever,
and a host of like terms. See also
Liddell and Scott on the use of iTTTTOS

in composition—ETTOs, vi., in Compos.; it expressed anything large or coarse, as in our horse-chestnut, horselaugh ; V, ιππόκρημνος, μάραθρον. σελινον, -τυφια, -πορνος ; cf. βου-."

Should this explanation be the only correct one, the resemblance to a horse's fetlock which the young shoots of the horse chestnut (Æ'schlus Hippocastanum) exhibit becomes none the less real and remarkable.

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