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Soft Landscape Workshop 2018

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Taking Gardens and Landscapes to a Whole New Level 

Podium Deck Planting - The New Hanging Gardens of Babylon?
Ashford International Hotel Ashford Kent

Note Workshop full - phone for allocation on reserve list please

After many successful years of hosting our Soft Landscape Workshop in September, our next workshop will now become the first major event of the new year! Scheduled to take place on Wednesday 24 January 2018, we will be illuminating this cold, dark yet inspiring month with some inspiration of our own!  With our 2018 workshop we will be focusing on gardens and landscapes free from their conventional ties to terra firma. Podium Deck Planting, Roof Gardens, Green Walls to name a few are all essential in a move to help 'green' our urban landscapes. However, these innovative landscapes raise many questions such as 'Will most plants cope with these environments? What soil/growing media is appropriate for these conditions? What criteria would drive plant selection for these landscapes?'

We have secured some outstanding speakers and are delighted to announce that:

  • Award winning designer Dan Pearson will be presenting his work at the King's Cross developments as well as a number of other fantastic projects. To read an interview with Dan where he talks about his work please click here

  • Laura Gatti – the planting designer for Stefano Boeri’s award winning Bosco Verticale, the vertical forest in Milan, will tell the story of how this awe inspiring project came to be and how it is being maintained and managed 4 years after its completion. To read an interview where Laura talks about her work click here 

  • Tim O’Hare, arguably the country’s most in-demand soil scientist, will discuss the essential foundation (the soil) that these decks, balconies and landscapes need and what happens to the often manufactured soil’s microflora and fauna

  • Professor Nigel Dunnett will discuss his acclaimed work at Beech Gardens in the Barbican where Palmstead plants are giving year long displays to the residents and visitors. Nigel will also discuss with his City of London client Alex Piddington-Bishop how they manage this 4 year old evolving planting with City teams and volunteers. This case study of a revitalised classic site will kick off the workshop day

    • The threat of plant disease and the issue of Biosecurity is in the forefront of most plant users and we welcome the UK Plant Health Chief, Professor Nicola Spence to the panel of speakers. She will give an update on the risks the UK faces and discuss Xylella with an opportunity for questions.

    Please click here to read more about our workshop in an informative article published in Pro Landscaper magazine.

    24 JANUARY 2018  
    We have some 330 delegates booked in as of 15th January and there is now very very limited capacity for more than 330. Our exhibition is full and includes Michael Packard's bookstore. The day offers lots of scope for CPD and excellent networking. Presentations etc will be made available here after the event.


At the Ashford International Hotel -see for more information and booking from August. Tickets £39 including VAT (£32.50 + VAT)

The Soft Landscaping Workshop is now SOLD OUT

Programme for the day


8.45-9.30 am   Registration opens + exhibition viewing

Coffee + tea + Danish available
(First coach arrives 9.10 am from station pick up 9.00 am. Fast trains arrive 8.50 am & 9.14 am and coach arrives 9.30 am from rail station pick up 9.20 am)


9.40-10 am   Welcome and Introduction to the day and the Barbican case study

Nick Coslett (Palmstead Nurseries)

10-11 am   Professor Nigel Dunnett (Sheffield University)

 A Barbican case study


Alex Piddington-Bishop (City of London)

Maintaining the Barbican, with Nigel Dunnett

Session 1 Q&A


11-11.40 am   Coffee break + exhibition viewing (2 rooms) 40 mins


11.40 am -12.10 pm  Tim O’Hare - Why soils matter in podium landscapes


12.10-1 pm  Laura Gatti – Planting and maintaining the Bosco Verticale 

(a model for future urban development)

Session 2 Q&A


1 -2.25 pm  Buffet lunch in both rooms

Delegates with dietary requests should head to the Canterbury Suite

Exhibition viewing will be available in both suites

The Palmstead team will be on hand for advice throughout


2.30-2.40 pm  Dr Louisa Boyer (Plantworks) 

Mycorrhiza an aid to success 

2.40–2.50 pm Adam White and Andree Davies 

Creating wild gardens for children and RHS Hampton Court 2017

2.50– 3.10 pm  Professor Nicola Spence  (Chief Plant Health Officer)

Biosecurity update  - Xylella fastidiosa and other threats

Q&A session on biosecurity

3.20-4.20 pm  Dan Pearson – Planting on podium decks and creating urban gardens 

4.20-4.35 pm  Q&A session & wrap up

4.45 pm Close + depart - coach to station


Our shuttle bus departures are targeted at red train times

and link up with the half-hourly departing fast train to

London St Pancras

Trains to London St Pancras depart every half hour at:

5.16 pm to arrive @ St. Pancras 5.54 pm; 5.43 pm to arrive @ St.Pancras 6.23 pm

Please tweet with @palmsteadmedia #palmsteadslw

There are limited spaces available. Click here to book your place

or visit and click on the events page


(Please note photography and filming will be taking place on the day)