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Podcast 38: A Post-Wild World with Thomas Rainer

Part One: The Design Experts Series – Sponsored by The London College of Garden Design

This episode features Thomas Rainer, Principal Designer at Phyto Studio in Virginia and co-author of the book Planting In A Post-Wild World. Thomas’s approach to design pays particular attention to establishing new plant communities, especially within urban and suburban environments, where the native flora and fauna has effectively been pushed out. Concentrating on plant selections that work alongside each other and also with the site, Thomas introduces green spaces that please the eye, work from a maintenance perspective and can evolve successfully over time.

About Thomas Rainer:

Thomas is a leading voice internationally in ecological landscape design. He co-authored the book ‘Planting In A Post-Wild World’ in 2015 and has designed landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and The New York Botanical Garden.

Thomas is Principal Designer at Phyto Studio and works alongside Melissa Rainer and Claudia West. Phyto Studio was created “to bring clients both customized, technical expertise in plant community ecology as well as an artistic vision of the possibilities of gardens with emotional depth.” He lectures internationally and teaches planting design on the George Washington University Landscape Design program.

What we discuss:

Wild landscapes – accepting that we can’t turn back the clock to a bygone era and what this means for designers and gardeners going forward

Planting in urban and suburban landscapes versus rural areas?

Thomas’s 3 archetypes for the purposes of categorising planting and landscapes

If there’s a danger, especially in public spaces, that people come to accept edited versions of nature as the correct way ‘natural’ spaces should look and therefore become less tolerant of wilder, transitional, unkempt spaces?

The issue of ongoing, skilled maintenance

The future of built landscape design


Tickets to the Thomas Rainer Masterclass at Regent’s College, London on 18th January 2020

Phyto Studio

Planting in a Post-Wild World – Thomas Rainer & Claudia West, Timber Press 2015

With thanks to the episode sponsor, the London College of Garden Design

Tel +44 (0) 1483 762955


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