The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 9 Squares

Berkeley Square

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Berkeley Square dates from nearly the same time as Grosvenor, having been begun in 1698, on the site of the extensive gardens of Berkeley House, which John Evelyn so much admired, and where flourished the holly hedges of which he advised the planting. The central statue here was one by Beaupre and Wilton of George III., which was removed in 1827, and the base of the statue made into a summer-house. In the place of the usual statesman, a drinking fountain, with a figure pouring the water-the gift of the Marquess of Lansdowne- has been placed outside the rails at the southern end. The plane trees are very fine, and were planted at the end of the eighteenth century, it is said, by Mr. Edward Bouverie in 1789. The plane has been so long grown in London these cannot be said with certainty to be the oldest, as is so often stated. Some in Lincoln's Inn Fields are decidedly larger. In 1722 Fairchild writes in praise of the plane trees, about 40 feet high, in the churchyard of St. Dunstan-in-the-East. Loudon mentions one at the Physic Garden, planted by Philip Miller, which was 115 feet high in 1837 (a western Plane-not the great oriental Plane which fell down a few years ago). The western Plane (Platinus accidentalis) was introduced to this country many years after the eastern Plane (Platinus orientalis). The tree most common in town is a variety of eastern Plane called accrifolia, known as the "London Plane": this must have been a good deal planted all through the eighteenth century, so it is difficult to assign to any actual tree the priority.