Statement of Significance
Heritage is not only what we conserve from the past; it is also
what we create for the future.
|The gardens of Friars Lawn have been much altered over the two
hundred years of their existence. Although it is probably true
to say that no individual plant pre-dates the late 1930’s
this does not imply that conservation and renewal are not issues
to consider - sixty years represents a considerable proportion
of the life span of most trees. The long-term future of both
the ash and the cherry tree are in doubt, the former because
it is diseased, the latter because it not a long-lived species
and is already well into its mature phase. With this in mind,
it is important to safeguard the futures of the newly planted
trees, in particular the Aesculus flava and the Styrax as both
have the potential to become fine specimens.
The range and richness of the plant collection is also a feature
worthy of conservation. In this context, ‘conservation’
equals planned replacement and rejuvenation. No plant is immortal.
The useful life span of most shrubs is less than thirty years
(although regular hard pruning can increase this dramatically);
the Lychnis coronaria which is such a feature in the Rose Border
has a life of merely two years. Careful management is essential
to ensure that over mature plants are renewed and young plants,
including seedlings, are preserved.
The position of the garden in the local landscape is also important.
Norwood Green has strongly defined, historically entrenched,
Genius Loci. It epitomises Bacon’s ‘rus in urbe’
– the countryside in the city.
|This idyll is increasingly under threat. The traffic in this
area, both on the roads and in the air, has vastly increased
over the past ten years and, with the opening of Terminal 5,
is set to increase further. The open land to the east, between
Norwood Green and Osterley Park is subject to pressures for
re-development. If such changes are beyond our immediate control,
their mitigation is surely in our hands. Gardens are of vital
importance in modern urban landscape, for both people and for
wildlife. The careful management needed for the continuation
of this ‘perfect woodland glade’ is an essential
part in the future of this special part of west London.