Trees For All

Anyone who reads this blog even occasionally will know that I’m a bit of a fan of Greenwich’s (sadly diminishing) tree population and am usually spending column pixels complaining about the loss of yet more mature specimens in the ever-increasing march by developers to cover every inch of the town in teeny-tiny concrete boxes.

So it’s rather refreshing to hear that someone’s planning to actually plant some trees. The London Parks & Green Spaces Forum have plans to plant 10,000 street trees across London and they’re currently talking to local groups (in this case the Greenwich Society) about where specicfically to do this.

I would love to see Greenwich getting her (do we think of Greenwich as a ‘her’ or a ‘his’? Hmmm….) share of the forestry, so today I’m asking for suggestions for public locations and streets where a few new trees wouldn’t go amiss. I’d love to see some of the varieties that get really big – much like the ones that are being removed just now (gnash, gnash…) but councils and utilities companies tend to put the kibosh on them. Frankly I’ll just settle for lovely native species.

I’ll pass your suggestions onto Franklin from the Greenwich Soc and local tree man Capability Bowes – though I suspect they’ll both be chipping-in anyway…

the attachments to this post:

1chestnut helen
1chestnut helen

13 Comments to “Trees For All”

  1. Capability Bowes says:

    Hello Phant and thanks for this post. Just to put things in context, Franklin from LPGSF contacted me and asked for my help and “expert advice” (dunno where they got that particular one from) about this and I basically said “Well, I don’t know, but I know someone who will be able to put this into the public forum better than I could” (ie. TGP). I also pointed out the irony of there being funds available for new trees when, as the Phant rightly says, Greenwich Council seem hell bent on letting developers get rid of beautiful, mature trees just because they are in the wrong place (such as at the old Greenwich Hospital site). But if anyone has any suggestions as to places that could do with a bit of arboricultural improvement, that would be dandy.

  2. 58frankh says:

    Where to put new trees? East Greenwich? There are already plenty over here in the West. More seriously not on the streets. Tree-lined streets look nice from a distance but in Greenwich’s traditional narrow streets of narrow terraced houses a new sapling will soon block that the light and the view of an increasing number of houses. They will look OK from the upper floors of all the new tower blocks, however.

  3. Richard says:

    Please not on pavements.

  4. Neil says:

    Re-forest half of Blackheath, I say.

  5. Mary says:

    I suppose since being on the Council I have learnt the hard way about trees. A lot of pavements are too narrow, and there are a lot of pipes underneath. There are also a lot of people out there who don’t like them – honestly there are – and ask for them to be cut down.
    What I have learnt also though is that the Council tree teams are pretty good and keen to give advice – so this posting is really to say ‘talk to them’ and listen to what they say.

  6. Meirion says:

    Nitpicking I know – but the picture of one of the 350-year-old chestnuts in the park ( I always imagine a wagon-load of saplings rolling past Mr Pepys as he strolled around the Deptford yards) is lovely but not native. We have Alexander the Great and the Romans to thank for the sweet chestnut.

  7. Tina Lewis says:

    They need to conjure up some space on Trafalgar Rd (East Greenwich end), Woolwich Rd & Blackwall Lane.

    And could they plant some proper trees on the Peninsular?

  8. Capability Bowes says:

    Cllr Mills – according to a Freedom of Information request, Greenwich Council does not employ any individual whose remit is the protection of existing trees, either in the Parks and Gardens or Planning Departments.

    Can we not get into spats about “native” and “non-native” please? I asked for some serious and considered suggestions as to where people would like to see new trees.

  9. Mary says:

    I’m not getting into any spats – I am merely recommending to you the men who plant the street and estate trees and look after them. I don’t think I am dreaming that such staff exist since I deal with them frequently.
    I am just saying that it is a good idea to be careful and take advice on where trees are planted – where there is space for them to flourish and their roots to grow and not undermine other structures, where they won’t be hit by careless vehicles, or obstruct prams and buggies. And also where the many tree haters out there don’t have more cause to moan.
    Look – if you are interested I can try and get someone to talk to people about street trees, happy to do that if I can.

  10. Cliff says:

    Clapham & Wandsworth commons are both well forested and look good with it; how about planting out areas of Blackheath? maybe the piece around about the old TA centre on top of Blackheath and Lewisham hills?

  11. Darren says:

    There’s the area next to creek road where trees were removed when the road was widened. That might be a good site

  12. Tina says:

    Anyway we still have the odd beautiful tree in East Greenwich even with our narrow pavements:

  13. Franklin says:

    Hi All

    The aforementioned Franklin here. Sorry for the belated comment on this – and I have yet to reply to CB directly, but, CB, I will do so in the next couple of days – I have been out of town for the past couple of weeks and only just catching up.

    Just to clarify, I’m on the Exec of the Greenwich Society, and the Society was contacted by the London Parks and Green Spaces Forum (LPGSF) and invited to put in a proposal for tree plantings in Greenwich.

    I contacted CB directly as I knew (through his comments here over the years) that he knows a thing or two about trees and plants – and he was the only person locally that I knew about who might have the technical expertise to help flesh out the application. You have to include issues like rainwater shedding, survivability probabilities, carbon absorption, etc., and honestly no one in the Greenwich Society has that kind of expertise, although we’d love to put in an application for some new trees.

    CB kindly responded to my email, and referred me to a colleague/friend, who has also equally kindly offered to help out. But if anyone else out there is an arboricultural specialist and has time/energy to help the Greenwich Society to prepare the application, and to recommend appropriate planting sites, please drop me a line at

    And CB – I promise to respond directly to you and your recommended contact shortly!