Monday, 1 April 2013

Not such good news for parks!

Green and leafy = cool on a hot day.  We all know that it's true but now The Forestry Commission has produced the statistics to prove it.  Its recently published Research Note describes the extent to which trees and green infrastructure regulate urban air temperatures.  Apparently, when temperatures soar, London's tree canopy and green spaces can lower the air temperature by 2-8 degrees C.  The Forestry Commission has calculated that, during spells of hot weather, green spaces in London could be saving the lives of 16-22 people a day. So, that's even more evidence that green spaces are good and that we need more of them. Sad then to hear the news that GreenSpace, the organisation that has tirelessly promoted and protected our parks and green spaces, has had to go into administration.

(copyright Liz Ware)

If you travelled to the recent AGT Spring Business Meeting in Cowcross Street, perhaps you passed through Farringdon Station?  Did you realise that somewhere above your head was an ecology and biodiversity award-winning project?

When the station was surveyed in 2007 for biodiversity, just one single male black redstart was found to have a territory there.  Little surprise then that it was described as being of 'low ecological value'.  As part of the redevelopment on the site, the spacious new ticket hall has been designed to include a 'living roof'. It will provide a habitat for the kind of invertebrates that black redstarts find particularly appealing.

I've been experimenting with Twitter on the AGT's behalf for the last few months.  It's provided a quick and easy way to discover masses of enterprising garden projects and websites that I wouldn't otherwise have had the time to find. Have a look at The London Orchard Project . It's working with Londoners to encourage the planting and harvesting of apple, pear, and plum trees. There's plenty of good advice about starting up your own project.  History is important too. A two-year project to rejuvenate old and neglected orchards is running across the capital.

I came across 'Judi the Gardener' via a tweet . She was looking for seeds for a project that involved the homeless in Ilford.  As I was buying seeds for myself that day, it was easy to pick up a few extra and put them in the post.  If it worked for Judi it could work for you.  Perhaps your Gardens Trust needs a bit of extra help with a project?  Think about signing up to Twitter and asking the generous and supportive gardening community of tweeters for some help.

Later this month, I'm escaping the long winter to join the Garden History Society on its study tour of Californian gardens.  We start at Huntington Botanic Garden and finish almost two weeks later at Berkeley Environmental Design Archives.  Time to start the background reading...

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