‘Strictly Sustainable’ proved to be a lively and stimulating topic on Wednesday 16th September at Palmstead Nurseries Soft Landscape Workshop. There were divergent and passionate views expressed by Landscape Architects, ecologists and garden designers on the way forward for sustainable horticultural development with one speaker – Mary Reynolds – predicting that “nature is being pushed to the edge of ecosystem collapse” and that “our gardens have become natures last stand”.
300 delegates from across the industry met at the Ashford International Hotel in Kent for Palmstead’s popular annual event.
Brita von Schoenaich reiterated Noel Farrer’s call to engage in localism as she made a plea for delegates to fight for the future of big trees and their inclusion in landscape planning. She said: “localism is key, you can’t underestimate how much power you have as an individual. Go to the local authority, take part in consultations – so few people actually take part in these consultations – your voice will be heard.”
Brita von Schoenaich, a landscape architect who has made her name pioneering perennial planting said that as she reached her ‘middle’ age she had become obsessed with the fate of big trees in our cities, especially in London. Schoenaich’s practice has been involved in the Kings Cross Square project with Stanton Williams Architects. Schoenaich says: “it was difficult getting agreement to plant any big trees on this square and confirmed my fears for the long term future of our cities.”
She added that in order to avoid the apocalyptic vision of a city with no trees we needed a ‘Tree Tsar’ and she called upon the Mayor to provide one: “We need a Tree Tsar, someone with power who will say ‘we are going to have trees here, here and here, and the developer will pay for it.”