Author: Mark Laurence

Creating Garden Ecosystems

When we think of green space in a city, we think of trees, parks and gardens. Seldom do we think of these areas as self-sustaining ecosystems, yet they can and should be. Approaching landscape in this way brings multiple benefits but requires a subtle shift in thinking and a new way of understanding plant communities.

Read More 

Time to change how we live – and garden

Today for the first time ever, the UK recorded temperatures in excess of 40°C. Parts of Wennington, a village in East London were consumed by fire. If ever there was a moment to wake up and change how we live, it is now. If we don’t we are individually and collectively committing, in the words

Read More 

Seeds of Change

The world is changing, I think we all know that now. In terms of climate and ecology, we probably don’t realise how much and how fast. Climate zones are shifting North and Southwards from the equatorial regions with the most extreme change seen near the poles (4 times the rate of elsewhere). For us in

Read More 

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