Hassell Talks

Naturalistic Planting | Part 2: Is ‘native’ the only answer to the biodiversity question?

October 30, 2020

The debate around native or exotic urban planting can sometimes be a thorny one, culturally, environmentally and emotionally and over the longer term, climate change brings the role of planting and landscape into sharp focus as we consider the future health of our cities.

Wholly exotic landscapes bring with them issues of culture, context and invasive issues. Perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle.

Carefully controlled “wild” environments like small pocket parks or larger spaces like New York's famous High Line in are vastly different, but non-native plants play a crucial role alongside native species. In this way designers are ensuring biodiversity, eco-systems and cultural aspects are all catered and cared for.

Jon Hazelwood joins Professor James Hitchmough and internationally acclaimed garden designer Piet Oudolf to propose a different, less binary way of thinking about natives and non-natives. Together they look at why carefully considered planting needs to be seen at scale, and for people, ecology and wildlife.

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