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In 2021, the flowerbed and courtyard outside the Anthropology department were subject to major work following a problem with the drainage system. Members of staff Dalia Iskander, Lewis Daly, and Keiko Homewood took the opportunity to revitalise the spaces by turning them into sensory havens with plants that stimulate our senses through touch, sight, scent, taste, and sound. In the first stage, they focussed attention on the flowerbed outside the entrance to 14 Taviton Street and spent a glorious sunny morning before the start of the new academic year replacing two rescued Japanese Maple trees (Acer palmatum). They surrounded them with a range of smaller shrubs and flowers to entice the senses. There is now a mix of fragrant edible herbs such as Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp's Upright’), Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), and Thyme (Thymus ‘Silver Queen’); aromatic pollinator-friendly shrubs such as Lavender (Lavandula grosso), Russian Sage (Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’), Spurge (Euphorbia palustris), and ‘Hot Lips’ (Salvia greggii 'Amethyst Lips’); swaying ornamental grasses such as Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’); medicinal plants such as Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C. Buxton’) and a range of colourful flowering bulbs such as pink Bowden Lilies (Nerine bowdenii) and red Crocosmias (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Star of the East’). The second stage was revitalising the courtyard garden at the back of. the department, between Anthropology and Archaeology. The garden has been carefully designed so that different plants will be blooming throughout the spring and summer and into the early autumn. As the courtyard gets very little sunlight, all the plants selected are shade-loving or shade-tolerant. Plants to look out for include Japanese maples, Himalayan honeysuckle, jasmine, clematis, hydrangea, fuchsia, and viburnum, as well as bamboo, hostas, hellebores, euphorbias, and plenty of spring bulbs.

Contact Dalia if you would like to find out more.

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