John Rayner is an Associate Professor and Director of Urban Horticulture within the University of Melbourne’s Green Infrastructure Research Group. Together with colleague Dr Claire Farrell, John has been working to develop a low-input naturalistic planting design suitable for use in public landscapes, based around Australian plants.
The idea for this research was sparked during a conversation John had with Professor James Hitchmough from the University of Sheffield in 2013. Inspired by the London Olympic Park’s annual and perennial meadows, they discussed the possibility of creating a similar design here, one that would be robust enough to thrive in Australia’s challenging climate.
The University of Melbourne then partnered with the University of Sheffield, the City of Melbourne and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RGBV) Cranbourne to deliver the Woody Meadow Project. The aim of the project was to develop a low maintenance but highly aesthetic 'meadow' landscape using Australian shrubs. Funding for the project came from the City of Melbourne, University of Melbourne and the Trawalla Foundation.