The woody meadow pilot project
Researchers: Dr Audrey Gerber and Prof James Hitchmough (The University of Sheffield), Dr Claire Farrell, A/Prof John Rayner, Leanne Hanrahan, Ahmed Ashraf
Funding: City of Melbourne
Woody Meadow Website: See plant lists, locations and more project details.
The Woody Meadow Pilot Project is a unique research collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield and Melbourne and the City of Melbourne. The overarching goal of this project is to create resilient, management-friendly woody meadows to enhance and expand urban green spaces. The project is supported by the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and the Trawalla Foundation.
After initial experiments at Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne and the University of Melbourne’s Burnley campus, we have established new plots along Birrarung Marr and Capital City Trail. These test beds include almost four thousand plants from twenty-one different species. This is informed by research used to create the Olympic Park meadow in London, pioneered by Dr Audrey Gerber and Professor James Hitchmough at the University of Sheffield in England.
Cities around the world are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in urban green spaces. Urban greening has wide-ranging benefits for human health and well-being, local and regional biodiversity, pollution mitigation, and local urban microclimate. However, maintaining vegetation in urban environments is expensive, which leads to overly simple plantings. Such plantings have limited visual appeal and physiological resilience to the wide range of growing conditions in urban environments. We have recently developed a new approach to urban greening using Australian shrublands as a template. These “woody meadows” have high aesthetic appeal (e.g., year-round visual interest) and are coppiced every 2-4 years to create dense canopies which exclude weeds and have lots of flowers.
Monitoring how plants respond to coppicing will enable our researchers to determine the best maintenance regime for woody meadows.
- Gardening Australia – Woody Meadow ABC TV, July 2019
- A whole new playing field, by Megan Backhouse, The Age, August 2018.
- A woody meadow in the heart of the city, by Claire Bolge, Pursuit, The University of Melbourne, January 2017.
- Rambunctious research: Planning the life cycle city, by Claire Martin, Landscape Architecture Australia, May 2017.
- Seeding the wild in the city, by Megan Backhouse, The Age, September 2016.
Woody Meadow Plant List_City of Melbourne
For more information please contact Dr Claire Farrell from the Green Infrastructure Research Group at email@example.com.