The Violet Palm

I have a confession to make.  Despite my love of all things green and leafy, historically I have been pretty hopeless with houseplants.  They are generally to be found looking slightly sad on windowsills around our home having been either over or under watered, under fed and left in their too small pots for too long (maybe ‘a sadness of houseplants should be the collective noun).  However, when one of my favourite local coffee shops announced they were taking over the unit next door to open a plant shop, naturally it piqued my interest.

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Lost Words, Lost Spaces

The recently released The Lost Words is a beautiful book which was developed following the decision to remove a number of words describing the natural world from the Oxford Junior Dictionary in favour of those deemed more contemporary. The book has rightly met with great acclaim as it seeks to re-engage children with descriptions of the flora and fauna many of us once took for granted. But it also prompts reflection on the loss not only of vocabulary, but also of access to the world which it describes for the increasing population of town and city dwellers. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities: a case study in contradictory approaches to urban greening

Recently, via the wonders of social media, I have become aware of what appears to be an example of two initiatives taking place within the same city which seem entirely at odds with each other when it comes to environmental sustainability.  The city is Sheffield in the north of England, where on the one hand there has been widespread acclaim for a recently delivered urban greening project, and on the other widespread despair at the removal of thousands of mature street trees.  What makes this even more noteworthy is that both of these schemes have been lead by the local authority, Sheffield City Council.  This blog post will explore the two approaches and how one appears to undermine the aspirations of the other. Continue reading

Up on the Roof: a visit to the Barbican Beech Gardens

A few weeks ago while in London for the weekend, primarily to watch the World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium, I took the chance to make a pilgrimage to see the Beech Gardens at the Barbican Estate, which have recently been redesigned by Nigel Dunnett. Continue reading