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A New Grassland for Royal Park

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Event description

PhD candidate and academic Katherine Horsfall will discuss the Royal Park Direct Seeding Project and the opportunities inherent in creating native wildflower meadows in urban landscapes. 

Her talk will be followed by a GPN general meeting. 

The Zoom link for both events is

Katherine is interested in the potential to use species from critically endangered temperate grasslands and grassy eucalypt woodlands to create urban wildflower meadows that can improve urban biodiversity and people’s exposure to nature. In late April 2020, she sowed almost one million seeds of native wildflowers and grasses into a formerly mulched garden bed along Gatehouse Street in Royal Park, Parkville, as part of the Royal Park Direct Seeding Project. Species included Chocolate Lily (Arthropodium strictum), Sticky Everlasting (Xerochrysum viscosum), Tufted Bluebell (Wahlenbergia capillaris), Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) and Common Wheat Grass (Anthosachne scabra). The species mix was carefully chosen to provide habitat, extend flowering time and achieve rapid plant growth to provide good cover in the challenging conditions of this site.

This project is a partnership between the City of Melbourne and the University of Melbourne where Katherine is a PhD candidate. Her replicated experimental trial spanned an area of approximately 1300 square metres and used two depths of sharp sand and site soils (with and without jute mesh) across 54 experimental plots. Each plot was sown with 27 grass and wildflower species and data collection enabled comparisons between species establishment, species richness and weed management requirements on the different sand depths. Findings gained from this trial will lead to a better understanding of the resource inputs required to maintain an indigenous understorey in urban environments and the indigenous species that can reliably establish from seed to increase the biodiversity and amenity of the urban realm. 


Katherine has a keen interest in how communities interact with the natural world and how we can use plants to create greener, more liveable cities. As a PhD candidate with the Green Infrastructure Research Group, Katherine is seeking to devise new and affordable ways to create native wildflower meadows on hostile urban soils. This research aligns with previous work she has completed for the City of Melbourne, looking at direct-seeding methods to re-establish a native grassy understory in Royal Park. 

Katherine lives on the mighty Victorian Volcanic Plain on Wurundjeri country in the urban jungle that is Coburg. She balances teaching and research work with her PhD studies and the constant need to stop her chickens destroying her garden. When not chasing chickens, she puts photos of grasses and wildflowers on Instagram @melbourne_meadows

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