unirrigated planting

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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Naturalized exotic plants in arid climates

A problem, or an opportunity for a new landscape paradigm? I was recently working on a tree project in Abu Dhabi when I came across a derelict site which intrigued me with it’s range of exotic self-seeded, non-native plants.  The site was next to the Corniche and sandwiched between the Formal Park, my hotel and

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