We’ve completed the masterplan stage for a four-acre area of Mallards Estate, on the Isle of Man – a unique and exciting project that reimagines what a botanical garden can be. Our client’s brief was to create a landscape that showcases the genus Cornus. We are taking an alternative approach to the traditional botanical garden – creating novel environments and habitats based on an ‘ecosystems approach’ as opposed to a ‘stamp collection’ of plants which are phytogeographically arranged.
Cornus will be arranged by their habitat preferences, with the creation of an overarching gradient running from woodland and glades to woodland edge, shrubland, meadow and wetland, along with a myriad of microclimates and niches. Listening to their environmental needs, and taking inspiration from nature, our design will result in a dynamic community of associated plants and a fully immersive landscape – the chance to experience Cornus in a real and natural space.
Crafting a dramatic and immersive experience is paramount and we want there to be a sense of adventure and mystery. The experience will be akin to exploring an untouched landscape, where the lie of the land and visual cues from nature will gently nudge journeys towards key experiences and atmospheric changes.
Beyond the visitor’s experience, the benefits to local and wider wildlife are at the forefront of our design thinking. Ongoing management techniques over the coming decades will focus on increasing the biodiversity of the site and improving soil health.