Words by Jessica Peace

It’s one of Mamma Nature’s biggest anti-pollution machines in Blighty, and although it’s giving us hay fever hell right now, we salute the London Plane tree.

Clapham born Victorian Amy Levy was a poet, feminist, lover of Vernon Lee and the London Plane tree. In her poem, Levy distills the London Plane as the beautiful, city lovin’ beast we adore:

Green is the plane-tree in the square,

The other trees are brown;

They droop and pine for country air;

The plane-tree loves the town.

Here, from my garret-pane, I mark

The plane-tree bud and blow,

Shed her recuperative bark,

And spread her shade below.

Among her branches, in and out,

The city breezes play;

The dun fog wraps her round about;

Above, the smoke curls grey.

Others the country take for choice,

And hold the town in scorn;

But she has listened to the voice

On city breezes borne.

‘A London Plane-Tree’ (1889)

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