Public Planting Resources: People and Blogs

This is the second of my posts designed to provide the content for my Page on Public Planting. I've reused this blog's header picture as a reminder that my posts grouped under the Public Planting label plus the Out on the Streets meme I host puts Veg Plotting firmly in this category ;)

So what else is out there? There's loads in my bookmarks folder, but in order to keep this post relatively brief I've selected the people and blogs which have lots of information on this topic. I'll compile a list of the interesting odd post or two I've found in various blogs later.

The Sheffield connection

I'm a big fan of the Department of Landscape at Sheffield University. Their work which fuses ecology with horticulture is first rate and encompasses research on rain gardens, green roofs, colour preferences, plant associations and the development of Pictorial Meadows to name but five.

The leading lights are Nigel Dunnett (whose show garden was my favourite at Chelsea in 2009), James Hitchmough (whose work on planting colour preferences has made me wonder whether the 'taste police' have got it wrong and the brightness of many Britain in Bloom displays is right) and Noel Kingsbury (who often writes about his work in this field on his thought provoking blog).

It makes me wish wholeheartedly that I lived closer to Sheffield, but at least I get a taster day next month when I'll be attending Nigel Dunnett's study day at West Dean College :)

Dedicated blogs

Here Naomi Sachs' Therapeutic Landscapes Network website and blog, plus the ones dedicated to the wonderful High Line are my must reads.

The Therapeutic Landscapes Network highlights the research, best practice, conferences and training available to promote landscapes and gardens for health and well-being. How I wish the people providing the landscaping for my mother-in-law's care home were readers! Naomi also hosted the Garden Designers Round Table look at Therapy and Healing in the Garden which had a variety of interesting articles from a number of designers recently.

Both the old and new blogs dedicated to the High Line in New York have heightened my resolve to visit there one day and give a fascinating insight into how a major open space project is developed and what happens once it goes 'live'. I consider the High Line to be a best practice example for how public planting should be.

And here's one all about green roofs :)

NB Whilst all the resources in this section hail from across the pond, but they have much to teach everyone about what's attractive and stylish in the public eye.

Other blogs with strong content about public planting

Gardening Gone Wild - especially the articles by Adam Woodruff, concerning his design and care of the planting scheme outside a bank in Spingfield, Missouri. He has further articles about this and other projects on his own blog.
Greenwalks - she's currently having a break from blogging, but Karen in Seattle has many a relevant and thought provoking post on that toughest of everyday public planting locations: the median strip (aka hell strip or verge).

The Hegarty Webber Partnership - a particular favourite of mine because they regularly write about the public planting in Bristol (and occasionally elsewhere on their travels) from the designer viewpoint which saves me quite a lot of legwork and pondering ;)

If you have any further discoveries to add to this or any other of my resource posts re public planting, do get in touch at vegplotting at gmail dot com.


From Camillap: Back in the summer I had an inspiring chat with Chris Raeburn, head gardener at the Phoenix Garden (tucked away behind Shaftesbury Ave, in London's west end). He is a font of knowledge about plants tough enough to withstand the challenges of poor soil and urban abuse. He blogs here.

From me: I forgot to mention that the Garden Visit website is more than finding out about which garden to visit. It has a thought provoking blog which often tackles open space issues, plus relevant book reviews and information on landscape architecture best practice. Another useful resource.

From @PaulDebois: a recommendation to visit his colleague Veronica Peerless 'for out and about stuff'. I've not been disappointed. Veronica says: I'm appreciating other people's gardening efforts - big and small, urban and suburban, amateur and professional. I'm peering over fences and through garden gates looking for ideas and inspiration - mostly in London, where I live.

From me: Bensgarden has started a blog (April 2011) called The London Review of Parks. He describes the blog as: ...reviewing London’s free spaces, their plants and their people. He's also open to suggestions re: ...urban greenery worth reviewing.
From me: It's not public planting per se, but my regular Friday Bench slot over at Sign of the Times shows just how varied this most ordinary of street furniture can be and how it can be used to enhance our public spaces.


  1. Hello VP. Thanks for this post. A pet subject of mine, public planting. Back in the summer I had an inspiring chat with Chris Raeburn, head gardener at the Phoenix Garden (tucked away behind Shaftesbury Ave, in London's west end). He is a font of knowledge about plants tough enough to withstand the challenges of poor soil and urban abuse. He blogs here:

  2. Camillap - welcome! Thanks for the info - it looks like I should have come across Chris' work much earlier than today :)

    Good to find someone else who has public planting as pet a subject - though if I remember correctly I should have known that already as you're the lucky person studying with my Sheffield heroes. It's worth checking out the day of talks put together with Palmstead each year - more details to come when I put the Academic/ Professional page together.

  3. Thanks for the mention, and for so many great links! You're a wonderful resource.

  4. A pleasure to include you Naomi - you have a wonderful site :)


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