Category: Working papers

hinchingbrooke lecture 02

Following on from my rediscovery of the ‘lost forests of Huntingdonshire’, and my current research (with published articles, yay!) into forest history and their Anglo-Saxon (dare I say Romano-British?) origins, I have been giving talks to various groups, some local, some regional, some national: Do get in touch if you want an illustrated talk.

It was a pleasure to talk at Hinchingbrooke House (my old school) and visit Kimbolton Castle to present to the local history history society. I was asked to speak at the annual symposium of the British Cartographic Society, and have presented illustrated talks to the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, Council for the Protection of Rural England, Huntingdonshire Flora and Fauna Society to name but a few.

Last year I was honoured to receive a Goodliff Award from the Huntingdonshire Local History Society (www.huntslhs.org.uk/?page_id=33), and am currently on the last draft of a small publication. Get in touch to reserve a copy!

Planting Zebra bed

mykonos 09 towards helipadMy earliest memory is growing a runner bean from seed at kindergarten.This sprouting bean started my life-long passion of plants.

Since building my first greenhouse and tending to my first vegetable patch aged six, I have been designing with plants and am fortunate, truly fortunate, to have practiced my passion around the globe.

I consider inspiration gained from observing natural vegetation communities and an understanding of vertical stratification, plant tolerance ranges, behaviour and symbiosis hold the future for sustainable planting schemes for our gardens, communal landscapes and degraded habitats.

 

Lagoons District 8 lighthouse beacon

lagoon01aerMy first mega-project, The Lagoons masterplan covered 540 hectares of mixed use. The international design competition was won by Urbis Hong Kong Limited and I joined the company as Senior Landscape Architect and Project Manager.

Within a few months I had relocated to Dubai to set up the company’s Dubai branch office and was later joined by a growing professional team of designers and project managers.

Adjacent to the site lies the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary; an artificially enhanced, semi-natural habitat; home to migratory flamingos and other Arabian wildlife.

I had the privilege of compiling flora and target fauna species lists, designing geophysical modelling for ecological function, recommending endemic plant species for conservation and writing a working paper with Mr. Sandy Duggie on the unique procurement strategy to be followed.

Our working papers and recommendations were accepted by the developer, Sama Dubai, the Dubai Municipality (Environmental Department), RAMSAR, WWT consultants and endorsed by a UNESCO scientist.

The project had progressed from concept design to tender, with quay walls constructed on the site creating artificial islands that were intended to be flooded with waters from the Dubai Creek… until the recession arrived, resulting in the project being placed on hold.

I sincerely hope that one day this project is fully implemented. The ecological improvements to the reserve’s buffer zone, and introduction of endemic plant species to the commercially available palette for the Gulf coast has potential to greatly enhance the ecological function of the area whilst preserving biodiversity.

The working papers I authored recommended artificial coral reef creation, the creation of Islamic art inspired salt sculptures which would utilise and neuralise the hyper saline impounded Gulf waters, and the creation of a living soil by harvesting and growing various fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with plants, reducing their stress and increasing water and nutrient absorption.

Marine Ecological Enhancement

Working on mega-projects in areas adjacent to environmental reserves, it was necessary to undertake our own environmental research with published findings and recommendations to guide the developer and advise the local authorities.

I spearheaded such reports with the Managing Director of Urbis Hong Kong Ltd, and our work was approved by Dubai Municipality, RAMSAR and Sama Dubai.

I arranged to meet Dr. Benno Boer of UNESCO, and was equally proud and relieved to receive his endorcement of my species lists and native species procurement strategies for use on The Lagoons, the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Buffer Zone and the Creekfront.

My recommendations for marine ecological enhancement was to my knowledge, the first time a developer has considered such comprehensive enhancement as sea grass meadow establishment, bioremediation shellfish lines, mangrove establishment and coral reef creation. If this recession ever ends, it will be great to see the project resurect.

 

 

Target species

mykonos 12 hrh villa

From original survey work of mesotrophic grasslands in East Anglia, to Mangrove Surveys in the Arabian Gulf to studying vegetation communities in the Cyclades, ecological surveying and ecologically functioning planting design have been important in my career from school student to professional.

I always incorporate shelters for wildlife in my garden and landscape designs, and wherever possible incorporate endemic, locally sourced plant species.

Sadly a great deal of scientific literature is ignored by landscape design professionals, and so often the same mistakes are repeated time and again, such as ignoring edaphic (soil) factors and the importance of geophysical modelling in softscape and hardscape specification as well as species selection.

I also consider that ecological improvements implemented through public landscape design and management need to be advertised to the guest or visitor through interpretation and educational awareness. Without fostering a demand for such enhancements, little will be supplied.

Ecological 03

Ecological 03The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Buffer Zone surrounds the core zone sanctuary, and extends into The Lagoons project, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The proposed landscape treatment required special attention due to the Environmental Impact Assessment’s wise recommendations. I was fortunate to receive UNESCO scientist and other NGO backing for my proposed native species lists and plant procurement proposal (tissue culture, seed collection, vegetative propagation) procurement methods.

The design and brain storming exercise also included cultural references and numerous geo-physical modeling features for habitat enhancement and ecological functioning as well as the design and location of ‘target species fauna’ shelters and interpretation boards.