Growing Grit

Growing Grit

 Spectacular planting in engineered green roof soil at the Barbican Centre in London. Design by  Nigel Dunnett

Spectacular planting in engineered green roof soil at the Barbican Centre in London. Design by Nigel Dunnett

 

I'm extremely excited to announce that I've been awarded a $3,000 grant from the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation to explore different approaches for creating resilient perennial plantings in urban public spaces.

I've been learning about novel European approaches for creating sustainable urban plant communities for years, most recently traveling to Sweden for a conference on the subject last September, but now I finally have the chance, and the financial resources, to explore these ideas in depth in a real-world experiment.

Some of the approaches being used in Europe include growing plants in deep mineral mulches    ( such as gravel or sand ), or artificial substrates ( like green roof soils ) as a way of both reducing soil fertility, allowing for the creation of much more diverse plant communities, and reducing the potential for weed invasions, ensuring the plantings are very easy to maintain over the long term by maintenance crews who may not have advanced horticultural training.

In the spring I'll be establishing a trial garden in Prince Edward County to explore how a range of different plant species ( herbaceous perennials, grasses, and bulbs ) perform in our Ontario climate in a range of different substrates ( green roof soils, gravel, sand, and recycled concrete aggregate mixed with compost ). The results from the trial garden will yield valuable information that can help create the beautiful, biodiverse and resilient urban plantings of the future.

Press release from the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation here.

View the grant application here.

 

Watch this page for the full plant list and updates as I document the evolution of the trial plots throughout the 2018 growing season!