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Interview with award-winning, Belfast-based JP Architects & Landscape Design, James Purdy

Interview with award-winning, Belfast-based JP Architects & Landscape Design, James Purdy


James Purdy of the award-winning, Belfast-based JP Architects & Landscape Design reflects on his design for the Green Cities Garden at Bloom, which received popular and media interest at this year’s event.

 What was the idea behind the Green Cities Garden?
The idea behind the garden was to [reflect] the Green Cities for Europe initiative taking place across the EU and in Ireland, which promotes physical, mental and [environmental] wellbeing through [building] and engaging with enhanced and vibrant green spaces.

How did you achieve this?
I looked at a show garden and asked what can I extrapolate from public parks and into this space to make it feel like a park on a show garden scale. Because in our parks you associate lawns with most activities – dog walking, yoga, football or whatever sport you choose to play – the main fulcrum of [the garden] was a large lawn in the middle. Spreading out from that is a meandering path leading to seating points, a water feature and a range of planting from meadow to woodland to herbaceous. The gravel path allows people to follow a fluid movement.

[The garden] engages people [through] sight and sound but also provides a habitat for wildlife to flourish, [leading] people to engage with the flora and the wildlife in it.

Irish meadow [including] poppies and cornflower reach into more woodland planting, [including] ferns and brunnera, and as [the garden] comes back into into full sun, there are warmer tones [including] salvia, Astrantia and erigeron.

What should people responsible for implementing urban greening take away from the Green Cities Garden?
That this [garden] can be scaled, so you can go up in one acre, two acres, three acres and so on. So, in any space that is available, you could raise the question why is it not being utilised for green spaces [like this] – especially if dense population surrounds it.

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