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Horniman Reveals Design for South London Micro-forest

The Horniman has today (Monday 10 January) shared detailed plans for its new micro-forest, as planting begins on the site alongside the A205 South Circular road.

A 300m2 area is being redeveloped to provide a ‘green screen’, protecting the Horniman’s Gardens from noise and air pollution, and creating additional wildlife habitats, following a successful fundraising appeal in 2021.

The eastern section of the area will become a woodland, featuring coppiced hazel under-planted with meadow grassland including a mixture of wildflowers and native plants such as snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells, wood anemones and snakes head fritillaries.

The western section – closest to a busy and congested junction of the South Circular (London Road) – will be planted using the Miyawaki method, to create a dense and fast-growing micro-forest.

The Miyawaki method, created by Japanese botanist and plant ecologist Akira Miyawaki, uses natural forest regeneration processes and close planting, prompting trees to grow faster as they compete for the sun. The method speeds up the creation of a diverse, healthy forest which can capture more carbon far earlier than traditional reforesting techniques.

In both sections, the existing shrub border adjacent to the South Circular will be deepened, and existing trees and shrubs will be retained wherever possible. The plans have been finalised by Head of Horticulture Errol Fernandes, and the Horniman’s Gardens team has been preparing the ground ready for this month’s planting to begin.

Errol Fernandes, Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘We’re excited to be using the Miyawaki method to plant our micro-forest, and to be creating this important new habitat and environmental buffer. We’re incredibly thankful to everyone who supported our appeal and played a vital part in creating something that will benefit our local environment for decades to come.’

The London Road Tree Planting Appeal, fronted by garden designer, TV presenter and Horniman Ambassador Joe Swift, ran from February 2021 and raised almost £25,000 – more than doubling its original target.

Planting will continue through the winter and into early spring, with the newly planted trees taking some years to mature.

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This story was published on: 13/01/2022

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