The Urban Horticulture Research Group is a newly formed group of academic staff with a focus on the design and management of gardens and urban landscapes. A key focus is the selection, use and performance of designed vegetation, from public landscapes through to residential gardens, particularly in relation to available resources, maintenance and questions of success and sustainability
We use the Burnley Gardens as a research resource with our findings on plant performance regularly incorporated into the Burnley Plant Guide , a database of more than 2700 plant taxa that forms a vital tool for teaching and research. Our research includes more general aspects of nursery production, plant culture and consumer horticulture and we regularly partner with local government, industry bodies and community organisations. We also research into the role design and design history plays in landscape, including participation in engagement activities that integrate designers with site and community.
Our research is helping to improve decision making around landscape design and plant selection. We recently partnered with local government and industry professionals, to produce the Growing Green Guide , a guide to the design, construction and maintenance of green roofs, walls and facades. The Guide includes rationales and recommendations for plant selections for these novel and often challenging growing environments and was recognised with a Research and Communication Award at the 2014 Victorian AILA Awards. Our Novel Crops Research Project will broaden crop choice for home and community gardeners and public open space managers, by including species popular with, and sold by, diverse ethnic communities in Melbourne but which are not yet mainstream e.g. Kang Kong, Yam, Taro, Cassava, and Amaranth. Overall, research in this group will improve the delivery of landscape design practices with the emphasis on designing for place and function that focus’ on specific community needs, contribute to the quality of urban environment management practices and influence the policy and decision-making capacity of future managers of urban environments.