This week the Horticulture Week Podcast hears from head of masterplanning Julian Tollast and David Hughes, estate landscape manager. They tell us about the transformation of Wembley Park which has given the area around the eponymous stadium an ''urban arboretum" and includes far more extensive and varied green space than people may realise.
One of London’s largest development schemes of recent times, the long-neglected space has become a vibrant community. In 2004 Quintain invested over £2bn into the neighbourhood, giving a new lease of life to the original landscape, first designed by Humphry Repton who laid out the original gardens for Wellers, the home of the Page family, in the late 18th century.
One of the highlights of the development is the addition of an avenue of "champion trees of the world" which line the route from Wembley Park underground station to the stadium, developed with the assistance of Tony Kirkham, formerly of RBG Kew.
Tollast discusses plant selection and design principles which incorporate formal planting in some areas and "informal shaggy planting" in others. Hughes explains the maintenance regimes and some of the challenges of maintaining a landscape that has to withstand the footfall, litter and tree-climbing antics of tens of thousands of football and music fans on a regular basis. He also recounts his plans to introduce beehives on the high profile site.
They also recount the particular challenges they faced in the wake of the tumultuous European Cup Final of 2021, not to mention the stresses of drought on the landscape and trees and and challenges to maintaining and increasing biodiversity.
Find out more about the latest Wembley Park developments here.
Presenter: HortWeek senior reporter Rachael Forsyth
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor
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