Monday, 31 March 2014

Destruction of rain-forests Borneo and Malaysia, By David Keegan Garden Design

Palm Oil Plantations & The Destruction of Borneo


I had a dream of what to expect before my recent visit to Borneo and Malaysia. I pictured mile after mile of roads through virtually unbroken rain-forest, a land of wildlife, and magic.
Looking on the map it all seemed so far away, so full of wonder, remote even. 

Top of my list was to visit the Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary, looking back now i can only wonder at my naivety, did it not occur to me to question why a sanctuary was needed in the first place? In my mind i imagined a vast area of forest in which one would view wild Orangutans.

We decided that to really make the most of this area of Borneo we must hire a car in Kota Kinabalu and drive to Sandakan, the town nearest to the Sepilok sanctuary. The early part of the drive climbing hill roads as we passed by  Mount Kinabalu started off to be visually very exciting and promising as we drove through  large swathes of virgin rain-forest. Unfortunately that joy  was short lived as soon we drove for hours through scenes of destruction. For as far as the eye could see the Rain-forest was gone and in its place mile after mile of Palm Oil plantations. The pictures below give a pretty clear and depressing image of just how much of the landscape is now taken up by Palm Oil Plantations. This same picture is one repeated in Sarawak and mainland Malaysia. All of this makes a mockery of the visit Malaysia 2014 campaign which aims to promote Malaysia and Borneo as a tropical paradise.  The sad truth, although it would once have been a spectacular tropical paradise that is all gone now to be replaced by Palm Oil plantations. We are all partly to blame due to our blind consumption of products containing Palm Oil. Another of the horrible ironies is the addition of Palm Oil to diesel in a cynical attempt to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and cut global warming. The irony, we rip out the very forests that we need to help maintain the health of our planet. It is estimated that 80% of virgin rain-forest in Borneo is now gone, but the clearance and logging continues. It is our responsibility to try and save the remaining 20% Part of achieving this is simple, check the ingredients in foodstuffs and do not purchase those containing Palm Oil. Write letters to your MP and MEP demanding and end to Palm Oil use in the EU, and finally sign the petitions available via the links at the bottom of this post.
It is no longer acceptable for us as consumers to claim, or desire, ignorance. The reality, we are now a globally connected community and with that comes responsibility to sustain and protect the environment of that community. Once these forests and wildlife habitats are gone that's it. Eco systems that have survived millennia are being eradicated and cannot be replaced. We as a global community must act, and act now.
Do we really want an Orangutan or Sun Bear to die because we want a bar of Aero, a tub of Ben and Jerrys ice cream, or a bar of Body Shop Soap, is our wildlife really worth so little? Well this is the sad reality what is happening on the ground.

In the meantime here is a ridiculously contradictory statement given to "The Borneo Post" in February 2014 by Sabah Wildlife Department director, Datuk Laurentius Ambu said the court decision proved that Sabah was firm in its efforts to conserve wildlife.
"I would like to dispel all views and accusations by many overseas NGOs that Sabah does not prosecute wildlife offenders," Ambu said. 
Does Ambu not get that the biggest threat to wildlife, and wildlife conservation, is the continued erosion of wildlife habitat through ever increasing palm Oil Plantation and  the ongoing clearance of Borneo's remaining rain forests. Stop striping out forests Mr Ambu that will show you are genuinely serious about protecting wildlife and habitat  

In the meantime use this link to see just which well known products contain Palm oil

A few of the offenders;
Body Shop, Gillette, Aero, Cadbury, Maltesers, Whole Earth Organic peanut butter Aldi supermarkets many products, Warburtons bread, Roses chocolates, Quality Street, Ben&Jerrys ice cream and on and on. Always read the labesl in supermarkets and demand that all products that contain palm oil state on ingredients.

Below a series of shocking pictures showing the true extent of the devastation in #Borneo, taken during my recent trip. This is a side to #Borneo and #Malaysia the authorities would prefer you didn't see.

Palm Oil Plantations Borneo

To help put this in perspective and give an idea of distance it takes about 5 hours to drive from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan.

Palm Plantations for as far as the eye can see.

This has to be one of the most depressing and shocking views in all of Borneo & Malaysia

Established Palm oil plantation

The depressing truth about Malaysia and Borneo

A scared hillside

Newly planted Palm 

Rubbish strewn hard-standing used by trucks to load the Palm kernel for oil production

At one time this you would probably not have seen the mountains in the distance as it would have been obscured by dense rain-forest. Now all you see for as far as the eye can see is Palm Plantation

Indeed if you have seen the adds on TV for Visit Malaysia 2014  it promises a tropical paradise.The truth Malaysia and Borneo's wildlife and tropical rain-forest is contained in small and depressing sanctuaries. 

Meanwhile visit this link and read how the Malaysian government would like to portray Malaysia, or should that be betray?

This is so clearly not a newly highlighted problem as this link to an article on the destruction caused in #Malaysia by #Palm Oil in the Telegraph UK demonstrates.

Telegraph newspaper article from 2011 on the destruction of #Rain-forests in #Malaysia click here to read

Support Wildlife and conservation work by using the links below

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Garden Design Whitefield Manchester, By David Keegan Garden Design

A Garden Transformation in Whitefield, Manchester

This is a perfect example of how an out of date and overgrown garden can be transformed and turned into a useful family garden.

As you can see from the before pictures below, although this is in reality quite a decent sized plot,  it looks small and gloomy due to the overgrown abundance of conifers.

Equally the rear garden, which is not a very deep space to begin with, is made even smaller due to the location and over-sized concrete steps, along with a further collection of overgrown conifers.

A requirement of my landscape design brief was to include a set of electric gates. I designed the ones pictured below specifically for this project and had them manufactured by a Manchester based metal fabricator

Two types of granite block paving was installed to replace the worn and dreary tarmac drive.  Paving for parking area is laid in a circular pattern for contrast, which is further enhanced by inset black granite block paving. Coping to original retaining wall to front garden was retained, cleaned, and reused as it turned out to be quality York stone copings.  Concrete steps and paving were removed and all re-clad with black slate to tie in with designs for rear garden.

 My garden designs  for this project also included a small formal rose garden to the front, removal of all the conifers to side area, and replacement with a large usable lawn, and planted with a black Magnolia to the lawn center as a focal point. 

Steps to the rear area were removed, and new  smaller steps installed leading up to a brick built barbecue area. This maximized the internal lawn space and turned the recreational focus internally to the garden and lawn.

Walls and paths are now clad in black slate giving a clean and contemporary look to the garden, whilst slate coping to the top of walls creates additional seating in the garden. Box hedging is used to provide an aesthetic visual break as well as a safety barrier. A floating bench was attached to the wall as this area is directly opposite a set of French doors leading off a living room area.

As it is a detached property the opposite side-way to house was a dark and unused space. This  was transformed with the installation of timber fencing, a shed, and hard standing, making sensible use of what would otherwise be wasted property. 

Arched double wall timber screen gate can be seen in pictures above. This area is now a very useful storage area for lawnmower, tools, and bicycles. All timber-work was constructed using American Yellow Pine, a sustainable, durable, and pleasing alternative to hardwood. David Keegan Garden Design do not promote, or condone, the use of hardwoods in their designs, as all involve the destruction of virgin rain-forest  along with loss of valuable and irreplaceable wildlife habitat. 

I sincerely hope you enjoy the pictures and please feel free to comment or ask questions.
All pictures are the copyrighted property of David Keegan © 2014
Do not copy, publish, or use in any way, without the prior consent of the owner, David Keegan.

Picture size and quality is reduced for these postings in order to protect the integrity of the expressed and legal copyright © 2014

Friday, 28 March 2014

Garden Design project Heaton Moor, by David Keegan Garden Design

A selection of pictures of a family garden design project in Heaton Moor.

David Keegan Garden Design

I sincerely hope you enjoy the pictures and please feel free to comment or ask questions.
All pictures are the copyrighted property of David Keegan © 2014
Do not copy, publish, or use in any way, without the prior consent of the owner, David Keegan.

Picture size and quality is reduced for these postings in order to protect the integrity of the expressed and legal copyright © 2014

Contemporary garden design project in Chester, Cheshire, By David Keegan Garden Design

Written Brief  and pictures - Hilltop, Chester, Cheshire.

This Landscape design project achieved various design awards, along with being featured in an international book on Landscape Architecture published 2013

Hardiness Zone
The plot is located in UK hardiness zone 8

Site conditions
The extensively refurbished and modernised house sits in approximately 1.5 acres of land, with the
remains of the original garden still in place. The original gardens were in a state of neglect, and
looked dark and uninviting. Planting was outdated and overgrown with a large number of
Cupressocyparis leylandii. The large garden had originally been broken into a series of smaller
satellite areas.

Client’s needs
My clients are a young professional couple with one child. They have quite an eclectic taste,
expressed through their large collection of modern art, furniture and sculpture. The wanted the
gardens to have a sympathetic relationship with the house and interiors. They had a number of clear
requirements. They wanted to have an area of the garden for relaxation, another area for entertaining
close to the kitchen and a play area for their daughter. They particularly liked sunken gardens, tree
ferns and water. Lighting was also essential, as they wanted to be able to be able to use the space as
an extension to the house. They also wanted some element of sculpture and bespoke furniture in the
garden. They did not like the colour red. My clients wanted to split the garden into a number of areas,
and each area or garden room to have its own distinctive style; which must relate to the adjoining
room in the house.

Design intent
I created a garden design with a series of contemporary and distinctive garden rooms, with each room
provoking a different sense of feeling and response. By dividing the garden into these compartments,
I have created a sense of journey and discovery. The garden has a sense of lightness with a sense of
adventure and fun. The inspiration for the garden to the side of the sunken room came from English
National Opera production of Zerkses, and it was designed as a piece of art or an installation, rather
than a strictly conventional garden.

Project description
A series of unique themed areas - creating a journey of wonder around the plot. Each garden room
creates a unique framed picture to the various internal facets of the house. For example the sunken
garden is aligned centrally to the bi fold doors to the kitchen area. The curved path sculpture garden
to the side of the garden is viewed from the long dining hall whilst the decked exotics garden likes
directly with the lounge room again via the bi fold doors with the deck run level to the internal flooring.
Beyond the monolith water feature is a circular entrance to the hidden children’s play area. Planting in
this area is more jungle like to make it a more dynamic journey for children to the play area.

Environmental responsibility
Building materials sourced locally. Also 95% of the plants used were supplied by a local specialist
plant hunter’s nursery all of whose stock is grown from seed. The nursery owners are one of the few
in the UK to hold a licence to import and grow seed collected in various corners of the world. This
allowed me a rare plant palette without the need to import exotics. The curved pathways and terracing
to sunken garden area are made from reconstituted recycled aggregate. All beds were mulched on
completion with bark chip to conserve moisture. Timber was all from certified managed sources.
Local landscaping team was used for construction.

Designer’s role
To liaise with clients in creation of the designs and oversee the implementation of designs with
landscape team. To specify and source all plants.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the pictures and please feel free to comment or ask questions.
All pictures are the copyrighted property of David Keegan © 2014
Do not copy, publish, or use in any way, without the prior consent of the owner, David Keegan.

Picture size and quality is reduced for these postings in order to protect the integrity of the expressed and legal copyright © 2014

International Landscape Design Awards

APLD International Landscape Design Awards  2018 The awards ceremony was held in Toronto in September which I couldn't make as I w...