Workshops explain how green spaces can exploit 'wow' factor

Politicians need to be persuaded landscapes are an investment in order for green space to overcome the economic challenges ahead, says a leading horticultural expert.

University of Reading landscape management director Richard Bisgrove is urging green-space managers to become more vocal and develop innovative schemes that impress budget-holders.

Bisgrove will be speaking at Palmstead Nurseries' Public Space Day workshop on 24 September, with television gardener Chris Beardshaw, Westminster City Council principal parks and open spaces manager John Tweddle and HW editor Kate Lowe, who is chairing the event.

Bisgrove told HW he believed that parks were "flavour of the month" but they have been neglected because parks professionals "haven't made enough noise".

He said: "There is a groundswell of political support for parks despite a lack of money. It is slightly wishful thinking, but if parks people don't create a 'wow' impression then nothing will happen.

"It is about a critical mass because parks managers are at the bottom of the heap as far as financing is concerned."

Bisgrove introduced the first landscape management course in the UK at the University of Reading in 1986. Beardshaw will discuss public planting and adapting to climate change, while Tweddle will examine sustainability in urban green space. Brita von Schoenaich will explore how to make planting more exciting. Organiser Nick Coslett said the free workshops would provide delegates with high-quality professional development.

A day focusing on garden design will take place on 23 September and feature speakers including Great Dixter head gardener Fergus Garrett and design experts Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Mark Gregory.

Garrett will share details of his plans for the future of planting at Great Dixter, East Sussex, and for developing a climate change discussion group at the garden.

- The talks will take place on 23-24 September at Ashford International Hotel and Palmstead Nurseries, Kent. For more information and to register for the workshops, see www.palmstead.co.uk.


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