I was struck by this news release from Scotscape this week. A ‘hybrid’ green wall involving artificial and natural plants. The future of greening is plastic. Isn’t it?
I remember over 10 years ago, the Argus reporting about a planned green roof at Brighton University in terms of the roof being special because it was ‘painted green’. An innocent mistake, but are we really advocating artificial plants as part of our towns and cities? Ever felt the disappointment of sniffing a convincing flower arrangement on a restaurant table?
Let’s not pretend this is real greening. We need more, not less nature in our towns and cities. More plants, habitats and natural landscapes to deliver multiple benefits – to improve our mental wellbeing, for wildlife, rainwater management, urban cooling and even sniffing.
It’s not just walls that are at threat from artificial greenery. Research in 2011 revealed that 3,000 hectares (12 sq miles) of garden vegetation had been lost over eight years in the UK – which amounts to more than two Hyde Parks a year. Much, if not all, of this loss was down to decking, concreting over gardens, and the use of artificial grass – with consequences for nature and urban flood risk and the disposal of recyclable waste. Praise be to muddy knees, worms, blackbirds, and daisy chains (John Terry take note).