Sherford New Town
In autumn 2015, YGS Landscapes were approached by Lavigne Lonsdale to discuss an interesting project. During the meeting, we were told about the bund and our challenge was to ensure this wasn’t an eyesore BUT a feature of the project…indeed the vision was to make it a symbolic talking point of the development for years to come. This was going to be the South’s Angel of the North!
Horticulturally, this was a very big challenge. The bund would be South facing so water would be an issue. It was 10m high, built to a batter, using a reinforced mesh system retained by steel cages. Arguably not the best conditions for plants to survive!
Upon consultation with the site team, we identified the quantity and type of topsoil needed. We then needed to maximise the water retention within the bank so we incorporated over 200kg of water retention granules. Commonly known as swell gel, this product looks like salt/sugar granules when delivered but swells when water is introduced. It can then be a source for water for nearby plants for up to 5 years.
On top of this a bespoke irrigation system was designed which would allow a controlled water management.
Next…the plants. Being living things it is always prudent to observe known growth habits, preferences, likes and dislikes of all plants BUT, they can also buck a trend, thrive in previously unthought-of conditions and indeed struggle when all factors aren’t to their liking. The conditions on this bund will be challenging for all plants, let alone ones that are theoretically adept at growing in such conditions, because the aspect and the matting will ensure that the soil temperature and therefore moistness will need constant attention.
The MD’s of both companies, utilising over 100 years of plant knowledge, developed a hit list of plants that should be suitable and also some experimental ideas….it was felt that this was always going to be a fluid development and after a couple of seasons successes and failures would have surfaced and the makeup of the bund could be adopted accordingly.
Once the list was agreed, 26000 plants were sourced and arrived late July !!!
The majority of the planting needed to be done from mobile platforms which in itself caused issues. The space within the platform meant that only so many plants could go up in every lift so the MEWPS lifts were very well used !!
A team of three carried out the works over a 6 week period, methodically cutting the mesh, digging the hole, planting the plants, back filling the holes and then tying up the mesh with a cable tie. All of these works were carried out during a relatively hot spell so watering was constant.
The works were completed with a week to spare and the following wet autumn was a welcome relief!
We are very excited to be part of this creation. There will be failures as plants don’t take to the conditions but the Consortium are committed to make this something special.
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From first sketch to final bloom, YGS Landscapes have planned, designed, installed
and maintained corporate, commercial and residential spaces in the South West since 1973. It’s what we do.