A grove of Japanese elms, where the owls go hunting.
You can’t miss the Ready Money drinking fountain on the Broadwalk - with its 10 tonnes of Sicilian marble and four tonnes of red Aberdeen granite - and there is a great story behind the monument itself. But here we’re more interested in its near neighbours, a magnificent group of Japanese elms (Ulmus davidiana var. japonica 'Mitsui Centennial') planted 30 years ago, a gift from a Japanese organisation.
A large deciduous tree, the Japanese elm grows to 35m. The long leaves have a coarse upper surface and produce lovely red and yellow colour in autumn, while the hermaphrodite, wind-pollinated flowers flourish from March to May.
Japanese elm can thrive in many different kinds of soil, including heavy clay, and it likes open locations. Ulmus davidiana var. japonica is a 'Mitsui Centennial' cultivar and is a known hardy variety bred for greater resistance to Dutch elm disease.
The Japanese elm is also a great tree for wildlife. In Hampshire it’s been seen to support important colonies of white-letter hairstreak butterflies, while here in Regent’s Park we’ve let grass and wildflowers grow beneath our Japanese elms, making this little grove a rich hunting ground for owls.