Tag: wildflower rich grassland

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.

 

cornflower

My first dissertation (MA Hons Landscape Architecture) questioned to what extent habitat creation schemes were posing a threat to existing ancient grasslands? Using field surveys I undertook on various grasslands in Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire, academic literature and my own seed mix trials, I fostered an understanding of responsible wildflower-rich grassland creation.

The moral concerns of local genotype pollution., distribution of non-endemic and non-native species, and the misguided view that we can create facsimiles of ancient grasslands are not, in my opinion, aiding our environment.

The study of vegetation communities and self-regulation/competition can, however, be instrumental in creating sustainable planting designs and solutions.

For my advanced diploma (historic environment) dissertation, and my current thesis (archaeology), I am gathering field-name, place-name and primary documentation evidence (Medieval charters, perambulations, land registers) to record the age of certain habitats on certain areas (Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Essex, Middlesex, Hertfordshire) to increase our knowledge of where habitats developed under human influence.

I hope my findings may be of interest to masterplanners and decision makers in how we maintain, manage and enhance our local environments.

Spitzbergen glacial river jump

 

After finishing A-levels, I joined the British Schools Exploring Society‘s summer expedition to the island of West Spitzbergen in the high arctic.

The nine week expedition was broken into three phases: scientific exploration, adventure and for my group, geology. Our science phase was spent studying the 24 hour daylight conditions and monitoring how sea birds have adapted their breeding and ‘lifestyle’ strategies accordingly. Sadly the Ptarmigan which we were hoping to study had been decimated by hunters shortly before our arrival!

Whilst in the Arctic I witnessed first hand the retreat of glaciers and the thinning of the ice sheets and the impact of such changes on the flora and fauna.

helen panel 2

Whilst living in Athens, I was approached by Bobotis Architects to create the landscape component of their submission for the old airport site.

The team came fifth in the international competition (out of over 100 entries) with the landscape scheme proposing habitat enhancement of endemic garigue, maquis and sclerophyllic vegetation communities.