Growing Grit: Designing Beautiful, Biodiverse and Resilient Gravel Gardens
October 25 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
A grant from the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation a few years ago allowed Ben to begin exploring different approaches for creating resilient perennial plantings in urban public spaces. The Growing Grit project let him undertake real-world experiments using the novel European approaches to sustainable urban plantings. Techniques such as growing plants in deep mineral mulches or in artificial substrates both reduce soil fertility, which accommodates much more diverse plant communities, and reduces the potential for weed invasion. Either way, the result is a designed planting that is simple to manage over the long term by maintenance crews who may not have advanced horticultural training. Imagine, too, the benefits for busy homeowners! If you struggle with soil fertility or inner-city soil contamination issues, or don’t have time to maintain constant curb appeal in your front yard, perhaps this style of planting could be a solution?
Growing up in Prince Edward County in rural Ontario, Ben spent much of his childhood playing in farm fields, fencerows, and forests. His fascination with these environments inevitably led him to study landscape architecture at the University of Guelph. His passion for exploring the culturally and ecologically enriching capacity of landscape architecture found a particular niche in landscape design based on richly layered, naturalistic plantings. Ben aims to create landscapes that, while obviously designed, have the same character, atmosphere, and dynamism of the wild places of his childhood. Ben’s landscaping company, Wild By Design, is dedicated to sharing this style of naturalistic planting.