KMIS lecture: Kicking the habit — designing without topsoil

Brownfield gardener and creator of Grass Roof Company John Little talks about alternative approaches to urban landscaping than using topsoil.

Hands in soil


17 January 2022


6pm to 7pm


Lady Lisa Sainsbury Lecture Theatre, Kew Gardens

Also available online, live and on demand



Join us for this fascinating talk with brownfield gardener and creator of Grass Roof Company John Little.

John's job consists of getting soils, plants, biodiversity and joy into new infrastructure and urban places.   

Come and hear about the huge potential of creating diverse plant communities and important habitats by freeing ourselves from the constraints of topsoil. 

In this lecture, John will look at how using mineral soils, construction waste and sands can help to redress the ‘bland-landscaping' within public space, developments and highways. 

Taking the open mosaic habitat as our template, he’ll look at the possibilities of using soils to dictate the plants, invertebrates and future maintenance of new landscapes.  


Kew Mutual Improvement Society Lecture Series

Since 1871, the Kew Mutual Improvement Society (KMIS) has been running an annual lecture series to boost your knowledge of the plant and fungal kingdom.  

From talks about historic gardens, to insights from the world of forensic botany, this year's series will introduce you to the latest discoveries and advancements in science and horticulture.  

You will hear from expert  staff, top scientists, and professional gardeners on some of the most ground-breaking research, practices and trends in the world. 

Find out more about the 2021 — 2022 KMIS Lecture Series