I have an announcement to make: my book, ‘London’s Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest’ will be published by Safe Haven Books at the end of May.
This book documents my own journey of discovery, not just of the great variety of London’s street trees, but also their fascinating stories. I’m extremely pleased to include a Foreword from London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who will face the challenge of improving our air quality during his term in office, I’m sure that planting many more trees in the city will be part of the solution.
To quote A.D. Webster, who wrote the – dare I say – ground-breaking book London Trees; Being an Account of the Trees That Succeed in London, with a Descriptive Account of Each Species and Notes on Their Comparative Value and Cultivation. With Guide to Where the Finest London Trees May Be Seen in 1920: ‘Nothing very remarkable is to be found in the way of street trees in London.’ Nearly a century later I can confidently report that this is no longer the case. I have counted well over 150 distinct species, and at least another 150 cultivars or varieties. I am sure there are many more than this and I am also sure this number will only increase.
Londoners need only walk a few minutes from their front doors to encounter a hugely diverse and endlessly fascinating urban forest. My book is a celebration of the forest, its diversity and its beauty. It is a guide to the many unexpected, even improbable, species to be found around the capital, from Anerley to Walthamstow, and an attempt to shed light on things many of us never knew about the trees on our streets.
Most people will be aware of London’s own eponymous street tree, the London Plane – in itself unique among cities – and no doubt many could recognise one, but according to the London i-tree eco project report, Plane trees account for less than 3% of London’s street trees. I hope this book will go some way to helping you identify the other 97%.
Here’s a few spreads from the book to whet your appetite:
You may want to read more, if so, you’ll have to wait until the end of May, but you can pre-order on these sites:
I hope to do some events around the publish date including walks and talks which I will announce on Twitter closer to the time.