It has always been clear that the plants and flowers are something very valuable and unique to the Knight's Walk estate, read more about activities that we have been doing with residents relating to the planting and gardens on Knight's Walk here.
From the very first walkabout on Knight’s Walk and from initial conversations with residents and neighbours, it was clear that plants are something very valuable and unique to the local area. A green oasis tucked behind the bustle of the city, the communal spaces in-between the Knight’s Walk bungalows are bursting with a range of shrubs, trees, flowers and roses that add to the calm and peaceful feel of the area, but also hold quite a lot of history and memories behind them.
As conversations progressed about the design development, it became clear that it is important to keep as much of the greenery around Knight’s Walk as possible, and in the areas which had to be removed, making sure that the planting could be captured in some way, transferred and replaced where appropriate. In order to continue these important conversations, we arranged plant audit walkabouts where we could talk through garden areas with residents and begin to classify and identify the plants. In parallel to this we also held sessions at No.15 to find creative ways to capture the type of plants and the memories and stories behind them:
Plant Audits on Knight’s Walk
Following a suggestion from a resident on Knight’s Walk, in June and July we arranged two plant audits around the communal green spaces with residents and neighbours. The aim of these walkabouts was to identify and classify existing plants and consider how they might be reused and transferred to the new gardens on Knight’s Walk.
Walking around the communal areas of planting around the estate and visiting some of the shared block gardens, residents helped to identify specific plant varieties and classified these according to different priorities;
A key classification of plants was around maintenance, as feedback from residents and neighbours in previous public exhibition raised concerns about how new planting along Knight’s Walk might be maintained and making sure it remains healthy all year round. Along the walkabout we also discussed the health and condition of many plants along with their positive qualities, noting the beauty and value of some whilst also acknowledging that re-planting might not be a good option for the more aged, variegated or plants with disease.
Conversations about replanting focused mainly on the Knight’s Walk roses, and residents proposed that these would be pruned at the correct time, when they are dormant, and then transferred to pots in order to see how they acclimatised before replanting. It was also suggested that as the roses will be pruned when they have no petals, that they could be grouped or categorised by colour or type in order to consider the arrangement when they are replanted.
All of the information from the plant audits has been captured and can be found here. Some of these findings have already been considered as part of the new landscape strategy for Knight’s Walk and over the winter there will be sessions at No.15 looking at how plants can be pruned and transported safely at the right time of year.
Photograms and Flower Pressing
The classification and mapping of plants on Knight’s Walk during the plant audits made it clear that not all of the wonderful planting would be suitable to transport or to re-plant in the new communal gardens. After regular conversations with residents about the value, history and memories that many of the plants and flowers encompass, we began to look for ways that the beauty and sentiment of these could be captured, along side the Knight’s Walk memory archive, in a way that the stories could be reflected in the future communal area of Knight’s Walk and even when the flowers were dormant in the winter.
At Coffee and Cake at No.15 we collected a selection of leaves and flowers from the gardens along Knight’s Walk and resident picked out ones that were meaningful to them. Using photogram paper, with hypersensitivity to the sun, residents carefully placed an arrangement of leaves, flowers and branches to produce sun prints and capture the crisp outline shapes of the Knight’s Walk plants individually or as patterns.
Trialling different variations of capturing the local plants and collecting stories and memories for the Memory Archive, residents also picked flowers and leaves from the garden at No.15 and along the edge of Knight’s Walk and learned to press these between books, leaving them to dry for 2 weeks, with the purpose of using them as delicate decorations for the Knight’s Walk garden party.
What we found from these plant-orientated activities is that although there is a general appreciation for the greenery around Knight’s Walk, it is also the case that the detail of this beauty can be overlooked, by capturing the essence, shapes, forms, smells and memories behind these calla lilies and roses, we were able to bring out a new layer of knowledge that can be taken forward to make sure the new green spaces on Knight’s Walk keep and reflect some of these elements.