Leading property group, Bruntwood, is exploring how urban greening can contribute to the health and wellbeing of cities and citizens as part of its headline sponsorship of this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show Tatton Park 2017 (19 – 23 July).
‘The Bruntwood Experiment’ stand champions urban greening - a term that covers any growing of plants in urban environments - through an exploration of the different ways we can use the often overlooked plants written off as weeds that naturally colonise our urban spaces. This experiment aims to show how such plants can thrive despite their unconventional surroundings, supporting new wildlife and contributing to the biodiversity and overall well-being of a community.
The outcome of the experiment will inform Bruntwood’s future design of green spaces in urban areas.
Kate Vokes, Director of Culture at Bruntwood, said: “As our climate changes, gardens and plant life will play an increasingly key role in urban areas, from helping protect us against flooding and extremes of temperature, to supporting wildlife and helping communities to be healthier.
“Crucial to Bruntwood’s goal of ‘making our great city regions cities greater’ are the partnerships and collaborations, such as with RHS Tatton, that allow us to demonstrate in practice how concepts such as urban greening can be put into practice by a business such as ours to create not only vibrant, community focused workspaces, but truly emphasise the importance of and contribute to enhancing plant life and green space in our cities for the benefit of the environment and future generations.”
Ed Lister, Managing Partner of Plan It, the design firm behind the stand, said: “We took inspiration from the science sector and how pioneering plants can colonise our cities and thrive with little care and attention. The idea centered around the petri dish, how cultures are grown and aspects extracted to further our understanding of the world around us. This is reflected in our garden with the circular design, featuring 1200 suspended plants centered around a raised seating area.
“Much like a laboratory, the garden is a controlled environment. Species of city-dwelling plants have been selected for their adaptive properties and will be observed to help discover how they react to different situations. The water use can be monitored through the in-built irrigation system, while visitors can be observed to measure how the interaction with the garden affects their wellbeing.
“Through the experiment we will discover which plants thrive in different conditions, helping to inform us how urban green spaces should be designed. This will allow us to maximise the benefits to the environment, climate and to create spaces which have a positive effect on its users.”
By using pioneering plants and simple planting techniques, Bruntwood aims to demonstrate that urban greening is accessible to everyone and can have a positive impact on local communities - already demonstrated through engaging students from Reaseheath College in Cheshire to come together and help create over 1,200 hanging plants for the garden.
Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood, added: “Bruntwood is proud to be headline sponsor of the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park. Our partnership with the RHS is founded on our commitment to improve the environments in which people live and work. As a long term investor in the city regions of the North and Midlands, we have deep roots in the places that we operate and forge strong links with our communities”.
The Bruntwood garden covers 151 sq metres at the RHS Tatton site. It is constructed of environmentally-friendly materials. The suspended plants were created with the help of students from Reaseheath College in Cheshire.
During the show Bruntwood will be hosting family-friendly activities linked with urban greening with City of Trees, a project to reinvigorate Greater Manchester’s landscape by restoring underused woodland. A series of workshops and experiments will also take place in the garden with Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.
On Saturday 22nd, BBC Front Row Presenter Kirsty Lang will chair a discussion on the Bruntwood Prize, an opportunity for writers of any background and experience to enter unperformed plays to win part of a prize fund in partnership with The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.