eco-system services

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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Irrigation of native and exotic trees in arid climates

This article first appeared in Pro Landscaper Gulf – a .PDF copy can be seen here on page 12.  It is based on tree consultancy work I have undertaken in Abu Dhabi in recent years. Irrigation is taken as a necessity when landscaping in arid climates.  It is a view that I wouldn’t like to completely

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Pruning hazels for regenerative growth

In my previous post I talked about a regenerative planting methodology for urban landscapes, in which I suggested you would manage, rather than maintain your planting areas. So how exactly do you you do this? Both involve work and the difference is a subtle but important one, in both attitude and application. Think urban forester

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Natural regeneration for urban landscapes

Almost all urban landscapes are contrived and designed, due to their artificial nature and short timescales of development and use.  We see increasing use of mature rootballed trees and extensive hard landscape and this is normal for intense inner urban areas; I do get concerned that the increasing complexity of urban planting systems divorce trees particularly

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Living Walls

There is something incredibly exciting about living walls.  Stacking green plants on the vertical plane on buildings, where you’d think they just should not be, goes against the odds.  Yet nowadays they are almost commonplace, and most people have encountered one somewhere.  They cling to life with extraordinary tenacity, usually in a growing medium only

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Green Walls – where next?

Is there a “next place to go” for green/living walls? Absolutely there is – there’s probably two next places to go – in opposite directions, seemingly.  First we have a growing need for the mitigation of environmental factors which are largely of our own making; air pollution, rising temperatures, storm and waste water management and

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When Green Walls get Greenwashed…

Reporters always have to grab a headline, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when the new green wall near Victoria station started grabbing headlines such as “London’s largest living wall prevents flooding”.  It’s a misleading headline to say the least: A, it’s not the largest wall, that “accolade” (if size is all that counts) belongs

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Biophilia: why I love indoor plants and green walls

I’ve got to admit it; plants do something to me.  When in their proximity, either indoors or out, things feel different.  It could be because they change the air, giving me oxygen, removing pollutants and humidifying the atmosphere.  It could be because they give me a subtle but direct contact with Nature.  Maybe they talk

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Building Bio-Systems – it should be an all-out War (effort)

I gave a talk last week on Internal Bio-Systems for buildings, to eFIG, the European Federation of Interiors Group (http://www.efig.eu.com/) which was reported on swiftly by Horticulture Week .  They picked up on my use of the phrase “war-footing” for the kind of response levels needed to deal with the issues at hand.  Why?  Well,

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