I'm very interested in learning more about the introduction of 'ornamental plants' to Malta. The origins of some plants are fairly obvious, but what significance is to be read from the choice of planting in a place such as The Howard Gardens.
Can you suggest any good links ? or perhaps you would share with me what you know.
I would say "availability".Glimbo wrote: ...but what significance is to be read from the choice of planting in a place such as The Howard Gardens.
In the past, importation of trees/plants was undoubtedly more restricted (for practical, not legislative reasons) than today's global scenario.
Therefore of a certain age you will generally see the same trees planted in various locations.
Furthermore the ones that prove easy to propagate here, will be more widespread (the "second generation" immigrants).
See the Ficus nitida - all over the place, because you can air-layer branches that are practically tree-sized with a 100% success rate.
I see what you mean about practicality, but I was thinking more along the lines of the original immigration of the plants.
For example, - as in the UK, Dicksonia 'trunks' (boles) were used as ballast by ships returning to British ports from the colonies in Australia.
Can you see where I'm comming from on this one?
Seriously though I really do not know of any similar stories. I would state however that since Malta was a British colony for quite a long time, that it is indeed possible that many trees have some form of connection.
One such tree (all specimens of a certain age) that I do see planted in places with a British connection, or at least, near buildings built just after the turn of the century, is Phytolacca dioica. You will find these at the parking space just outside Mdina, in Mtarfa (British Barracks), around the Cottonera area (port, and heavy wartime influence/constructions) and also at St Edward's College, a former hospital, again in the Cottonera area.
You do not normally find this tree outside of these settings, none that I know of in the countryside proper, or in very old houses, etc, which would indicate that it has been here for a very long time. They all seem to have been planted around the same time.
Why an Argentine tree, I do not know.