eco-system services

Adaptive and Regenerative Landscapes

What is an adaptive landscape, how is it different from other forms of landscape? Is a regenerative landscape also different? Simply put, they are landscapes, either natural, man-made or modified, that demonstrate an ability to adapt, survive and thrive under current and future conditions. Adaptive and regenerative are both expressions of this statement, with some

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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.

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Time to change how we live – and garden

For the first time ever, this summer 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

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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

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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

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Why we need treescapes, not just landscapes, in the Middle-East

Landscapes are all about creating micro-climate, or would be, if designed for that goal. Why is this important and what do I mean? Almost all life is contained in a thin crust of soil, a wedge of atmospheric gases, and water. Plants are the principal medium that interacts with and regulates all three. Absolutely nothing

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A New Horticulture: Designing Landscapes for Climate Change

The world is finally, at the last minute, waking up to the impending effects and consequences of climate change. In the scramble to work out what we must do (apart from the obvious cessation of burning fossil fuels), one thing, one factor is looming large: we need to put carbon back into the soil, where

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The beauty of resilient planting design

The emergence of the idea of resilient planting is a response to a number of different pressures which all have one underlying cause – climate change. Whatever the cause – and I’ll get on to that later – I see it as the most exciting change to the way we design our gardens and landscapes.

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The future of gardens in an age of climate change

This article was first published in 2007 and has been updated 2018. Future gardens will be an integral part of a living bio-system that is part house, part garden, an energy conserving and production environment.  It will also be a resource for water retention and cleansing, food production area, biomass and environmental haven. Above all,

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The (near) future of urban landscapes

UPDATE September 2022:  Given the increasing urgency of climate change and the overwhelming stresses this will place on our civilisation for the near, medium and long-term future, I now doubt this scenario will ever come about.  A glimpse of what might have been, maybe, had we taken climate seriously and managed to move through that

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