Sunday, October 27, 2013
In Those Days There Was Hope of the Future
At midnight on the 26th [of November, 1703] Queen Anne had stood watching through the windows the downfall of trees of historic tradition in St. James's Park. At the same hour, one of the most venerable of her subjects, old John Evelyn, father of arboriculture in England, was listening to the uproar of the uneven battle between the great wind and his beloved oaks at Wotton—'Wood Town no longer,' as he mournfully said. At morning there they lay, 'like whole regiments fallen in battle by the sword of the conqueror, and crushing all that grew beneath them.' Evelyn lost 2000 great trees that night; a neighbour lost 1300, New Forest 4000 'brave oaks,' Forest of Dean 3000 more. The elms of South England fell, as it were, without a struggle. But in those days there was hope of the future, for though elm and oak might fall, men planted others—as they seldom will today.See also Mark Laird, "'Perpetual Spring' or Tempestuous Fall: The Greenhouse and the Great Storm of 1703 in the Life of John Evelyn and His Contemporaries," Garden History 34.2 (Winter, 2006) 153-173.
Hat tip: Thus Blogged Anderson.