Hortus Loci to supply 15,000 plants for the European Capital of Culture 2014

Nursery Hortus Loci is to grow close to 15,000 perennials at its Hampshire base for a new park for the European Capital of Culture 2014.

Nursery staff will work with landscape architect Ulf Nordfjell for the park in the north of Sweden city of Umeå. The project team must overhaul the city-centre park in time for the cultural showcase in under two years.

Hortus Loci plantsman and founder Mark Straver has worked with the designer often, including for the Linnaeus Garden, which a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2007 and also a best-in-show garden for the Daily Telegraph in 2009.

Nordfjell said: "We need excellent perennials planted during summer 2013 and grown to the required size. For superb perennials it was an easy choice; Mark knows how I work and the standards that I expect. There is no margin for error." 

Plants include large beds of Sesleria nitida and spring plants such as Pulmonaria angustifolia `Azurea´ and Puschkinia libanotica. Late summer colour will be achieved with Sanguisorba and Gentiana `Makinoi´ and next to the river will go swathes of Calamagrostis `Overdamm´.

The schedule for planning and implementation was tight, he said. The climate in northern Sweden was harsh and daylight hours shortened dramatically as the year marched on.  The park was originally laid out in the 1880s and has a centre axis of lime trees and acers.

This will form the backbone for the park and an urban landscape of granite and decking will unfurl beside the city’s river. The challenge was to blend the park with the urban setting in contemporary way that was worthy of Umea’s status as capital of culture, he said.

Hortus Loci cofounder Robin Wallis said: "We are flattered to be growing for the largest and most prestigious project for the city. This is a big job and we are looking at on similar lines to growing for three main-avenue Chelsea gardens, such is the volume of plants needed." 

The Rådhusparken team also includes Ramböll Landscape and Plan Stockholm. The European Capital of Culture is an annual EU event to highlight Europe's common cultural heritage and arouse an interest in the cultural richness in the EU countries.

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