21 September 2015
‘Strictly Sustainable’ proved to be a lively and stimulating topic on 16th September at Palmstead Nurseries Soft Landscape Workshop.
300 delegates from across the industry met at the Ashford International Hotel in Kent for Palmstead's popular annual event.
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 - Irish Designer Mary Reynolds - predicting that "nature is being pushed to the edge of ecosystem collapse" and that "our gardens have become nature’s last stand".
She challenged the audience as she shared the basis of her ground-breaking book 'The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land & Ourselves' (out in February) which focuses on the topic of forest gardening.
She said that there is only one answer to the question of sustainability: “in order for us to embrace the changes we must face to live sustainably, we have to become a locally based economy and we have to contract. We have to take our power back and become self-sustainable as possible; grow our own food and try and source the remaining from a local economy and forest gardens.”
Noel Farrer, president of the Landscape Institute spoke further about localism - referring to the local markets in Barcelona which were key to community cohesion. He also expressed concern over the proliferation of green field sites without coherent landscape planning or forethought, he said he felt that overall “there is a new wave of optimism that things are changing and things are going to get better.”
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.”