Thursday, 26 May 2011
I've only moved to Bournemouth in the last six months but the thing I noticed instantly was the amount of trees that enhance the town. The trees are everywhere, lining the road, stuffed in gardens, carparks, bits of unused space. The most striking of these are the evergreens and there are some huge specimens in practically every road, street and avenue. Cypresses, cedars, redwoods, ilex as well as many smaller species and new growth powering upwards. With most houses and blocks of flats set well back from the road and with large gardens and shrubberies in fron you could be forgiven for imagining you are walking through woodland rather than a large, thriving urban centre.
The reason for this is pretty easy to see. Bournemouth is a new town; it celebrated the 200th anniversary of the first building here only last year. Before that it was open clifftop heathland dotted with the usual array of scots pines and other native species. As the town grew up to become a favoured resort for the wealthy and well-heeled middle classes, trees were planted to augment this feeling of a natural environment. But the species that were planted originated in the Victorian love of the exotic with specimens from the Empire and other parts of the world. Victorians and Edwardians loved their shrubberies and arboretums and here was a spot where they could build their large villas and indulge their collecting passions.
Bournemouth has managed to retain a great deal of this splendour even though the fine Edwardian buildings have given way to more modern blocks of flats. These blocks are still largely surrounded by shrubberies and everywhere the great Edwardian giants survive.
I'm going to use this occasional blog to put any photographs of these trees that I can capture. I'm afraid they won't be very good quality as I only have my mobile but we'll see what I can manage.