Hope Springs Eternal, a Brownfield Site Revisited

This is a follow-up to an article I wrote in 2018, about a brownfield site in Downtown Abu Dhabi. The original article can be found at the end. I was fascinated at the spontaneous self-seeding of plants – all non-native ‘invasive’ plants – that had taken place. Less than a year later, Google maps revealed

Read More 

A new Focus on Garden Design

2021 has been extraordinary, for a whole range of reasons. Covid and climate have dominated our lives, each bringing flux and change. It’s been a time of personal transformation for me too, with our final shutting of our greenhouse based living wall and plant supply company, Vertology/Coastal Plants. With these changes I feel new focus

Read More 

Beach & Coastal Gardens

Coastal areas are unique environments and vary quite considerably from inland conditions (even being a few hundred metres inland can make a big difference). Wind, high salt loading and milder temperatures mean that many traditional plants we love will struggle to grow. Too often, I see coastal gardens laid out in a traditional manner, trying

Read More 

How to create semi-wild seeded xeriscapes in the Middle East

This is last in a four-part series of articles on this subject, somewhat separated from the other three by time, because of COVID. Links to the first parts are at the bottom. In searching for a new way of creating natural, non-irrigated landscapes in the Middle East, I have already shared how certain species, often

Read More 

Coronavirus – is Nature telling us something?

A tide of change is sweeping the world, changing all before it. Where we will end up, no-one knows, but things will not be the same again, nor will Coronavirus – COVID 19 – go away in a few short weeks. Yet amidst all the fear lies a golden opportunity to reset the way we

Read More 

Coppiced treescapes for the Middle East

This is the third in a four-part series. In previous articles (links at bottom) I talked about the spontaneous regeneration on brownfield sites in the UAE and the utilisation of seeded landscapes to create semi-natural ecosystems without irrigation. Another factor of these landscapes would be to make them productive in a way that would enrich

Read More 

Creating non-irrigated climate-adapted landscapes in the Middle East

In part one of this four-part series, I discussed the colonization of brownfield sites in the UAE’s cities with a range of trees and shrubs – almost all of them “exotic invasive” species.  I argued that these could be forming the basis of new, adapted ecologies.  To revise those arguments, please the link at the

Read More 

Brownfield site natural regeneration in the UAE

This is the first of a four-part article, links to the others are at the end. These articles are all a part of the same thought progress, which has been brewing for some time and started with an article I wrote two years ago, in March 2018.  I think this is an important subject, and

Read More 

Gravel Gardening

Gravel gardens have been around a long time yet with a few well-known exceptions (Denmans, Beth Chatto and more recently, Olivier Filippi), never really make it into the mainstream of garden design. I suspect that for some designers, there is insufficient structure to satisfy, yet that is actually one of the main benefits. This makes

Read More