Planting & Urban Ecology

Planting plays a pivotal role in the landscape scheme. It provides a structural framework and aids orientation as well as improving climatic conditions and providing welcome respite within a harsh urban environment. The seasonal variation of the plants throughout the year provides a constantly changing backdrop whilst the careful selection of species ensures an ecologically rich and sustainable landscape. In addition, planting is used to provide a reference to the cultural history of the site, providing a living reminder of a forgotten landscape or tradition. Planting and urban ecology are closely intertwined; working together to create a micro-ecosystem that is full of interest and delight.

For seasonal interest and diversity of habitat, and to act as flood attenuation, two water meadows are situated along the western elevation of the new building. These have been planted with a range of native wildflower species, based on communities found locally in traditional lammas meadows. Worcestershire’s county flower, the cowslip, will be planted en masse throughout, whilst predominately summer flowering species will be planted in the southern basin and predominately spring flowering species in the northern basin, highlighting the seasonal life of a traditional water meadow.

In all, over 4000m2 of the soft landscape are dedicated to enhancing the biodiversity of the site. These habitats are complemented by a number of innovative wildlife features to provide bird nesting, bat roosting and stag beetle hibernacula opportunities. The landscape provides for interaction between people and wildlife through proximity, interpretation and interactive features, and it is envisaged that the landscape will be as much a part of the learning resource and experience as the books and exhibits within the building.