Walking through Saint James’s Park will never be quite the same again after an illuminating session with Royal Parks Arboriculturist Greg Packman who extolled the secrets of many trees we have been walking past for years without really noticing. 

He started off with a Judas tree near the war memorial in front of Horse Guards Parade. It is a lovely looking tree with beautiful crimson flowers and we were amazed to learn that botanically it is part of the Pea family and in Asia is pollinated by bats.

Next, a bit further down in front of Duck Island was the sprawling Medlar which arrived with the Romans. It looks as though it is hundreds of years old but turns out to be as young as 60 years. It looks as though it is on its last legs but there is a younger one nearby if anything happens to it.

Among other specimens which stood out were a Caucasian Wing Nut tree. Its leaves make you think it is an Ash but actually it’s a member of the Walnut family. We were intrigued by the Weeping Beech on the southern side of the bridge by the lake which is only weeping because of a past mutation or graft. If you planted seeds from it they would grow up straight but any cuttings would produce a similar Weeping Beech.
We were delighted that a maximum of 21 people attended and we are very grateful to Greg who has kindly offered to do further walks for us in future. One option would be The Green Park which he says is much more interesting than it seems at first sight. We will look forward to that and, hopefully, many other walks in future.
In the shade of a Weeping Beech