One does not travel and explore Provence, especially if you are a gardener, without noticing its beautiful and awed plane trees. Plane trees are found everywhere in Provence. They line its country roads, often approaching and leaving a town or village. They are a focal point in many a family's courtyard, providing umbrella-like shade, and a spot to place an inviting outdoor table. They are often strategically planted in village centers and town squares. They can create a majestic and impressive grand boulevard style in their maturity and beautiful foliage.
Plane trees are the type of tree, in maturity, that create their own environment. They can reach 100 feet tall or more. Plane trees can be shaped and groomed into a variety of shapes, and provide welcome shade, especially in the warmer months of the year. Plane trees were planted prolifically, because they were a durable tree to population pollution, grew quickly, provided excellent shade, looked beautiful, required little water, and could be planted in poor soil.
Provence plane trees are a hybrid of the Asian and American sycamore trees. They were created, quite by accident out of Oxford, England in the 16th century. In the 19th century, plane trees were imported to Southern France, and planted extensively. Napoleon was responsible for extensive planting of plane trees throughout Southern France, for the purpose of keeping his marching army cool, under their great green canopies.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a region, like Provence, where plane trees are so prolific, so enduring, and so much a part of the charming character of the countryside. Plane trees are yet another reason, why the Provence countryside is so endearing.