What are the different plants used in the Green Heart and why have we used them?

The plants selected in the Green heart have been specifically designed and chosen by the Landscape designer Chris Churchman. They represent two principle themes throughout the Green Heart landscape. The first relates to diversity and climate change resilience and the second concerns the promotion of native fauna and flora. These might seem like opposed philosophies but the designer felt that the Green Heart project is big enough and ambitious enough to support both in a meaningful way.

For the main University Square, there is more focus on the celebration of diversity and experimentation. Each tree is different and each has visually striking characteristics. The Cedar of Lebanon, Tulip tree and Silver Leaved Lime are all classic parkland feature trees from the Victorian era when newly discovered species were arriving in the U.K. The handkerchief tree is a nod to Ernest ‘Chinese’ Wilson, arguably the U-K’s pre-eminent plant hunter who discovered this tree on one of his expeditions after training at the Birmingham Botanical gardens.

The planting for the rain gardens feature two main different types of grasses. Carex testacea and Seslaria autumnals interspersed with two evergreens, Bergenia overture and Iris Foetidisima. These plants will reach their climax in the autumn and early winter when the Iris will support clusters of red berries and the leaves of the Bergenia will turn bright red. The selection of plants that exhibit orange or red foliage will complement the facades of law and the building within Chancellor’s Court.

The main lawns are mass planted with Daffodil. The use of Narcissus Ferbruary Gold and Hawera, both early flowering varieties, will welcome in the start of the Spring Term. The use of aquilegia and Allium in the rain gardens will add a wow factor to the beds in the summer term.

For the Library Square section of the Green Heart and the amphitheater there are more native based plants. The three rows of trees in the rain gardens are Crataegus crus galli or more informally known as Christ’s Crown of Thorns. A fun fact for you is that these trees will never grow any higher than seven metres but they will spread to form three clouds of foliage. The selection of low canopy was critical in maintaining the view from North Gate to Old Joe to maintain the original landscape plans. In May they will be a mass of white blossom, however look out for one particular tree which is an unintended freak. Having both white and red flowers might be symbolic of Christ’s blood.

In addition, the trees on the two flanks of the Amphitheatre are mostly natives, Field Maple, Oak, Bird Cherry, Mountain Ash, Walnut, Crab Apple, Beech, Chestnut and Lime. However, there are a few none-natives including Giant Fir and Hemlock. In addition there are ten rare trees which are being planted as a means of increasing climate change resilience.

Walnut tree

The plantings in the three rows of rain gardens are low maintenance herbaceous. They are gold’s and blues with a few hot spots of red. Species include Nepeta, Iris, Saunguisorba and Geranium. In the summer and autumn these beds will be a froth of colour. As with the beds in University Square the plantings are enriched with aquilegia and with Allium; Purple Sensation and Summer Drummer. The beds are planted with the first flowering daffodil, Narcissus ‘Rijinvelds Early Sensation’ which means that the beds should be in flower from late January.

The mounds either side of the Amphitheatre and the areas to the rear of the lodges are sown with wild flower seed which will come in to bloom in May-June.

Lastly, the slopes between the café and Muirhead will support native ivy and honeysuckle, both species that attract bees and bats. Nesting boxes will be set into the climber screen to allow birds to make the most of the insects and invertebrates that the plantings will support.



Our Five Favourite Hidden Gems on Campus

Have you ever wondered what might be hiding on the Edgbaston campus of the university? It’s awful when you know that there must be some interesting events happening but you’re just not sure when or where they are. Luckily we’re here to provide you with a neat little overview of our five favourite spots on campus and our favourite upcoming event for them. Read on to find out what’ll keep you busy this Christmas.


Lapworth Museum

R4 on Campus Map,

Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm

Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon – 5pm

Free Entry


Our Geology museum in the heart of campus is one of the oldest specialised museums in the UK with some of the UK’s most outstanding collections of geology. If you want to see fossils that are 420 million years old, then this is the place for you.

Best Upcoming Event: Rock Choir

Lapworth Museum, Sunday 9th December 2:30 – 3:00pm –  free entry

Lapworth Museum is welcoming the UK’s largest contemporary choir – Rock Choir – into the museum to sing some fun, festive music, with festive refreshments provided! The Rock Choir is a group of fun, friendship and community spirit, combining a love of music with an active and social community. Pop down if you’re feeling like an uplifting, warming afternoon of entertainment!

Find out more about the event here

Find out more about the Rock Choir here



The Bramall

R12 on Campus Map


The Bramall’s main auditorium seats 450 people, providing a very intimate space for audience and performer. The acoustics of the hall are world-class, being designed by the same team who were involved in developing the acoustics for the Royal Opera House Muscat. They have so many events it was hard for us to just pick one, so you should really check out their website and see what your favourite is.

Best Upcoming Event: Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra Concert

The Bramall, Sunday 16th December 3:00pmtickets from £6 to £16

With music from Tchaikovsky, Khatchaturian and Shostakovich, the Philharmonic Orchestra is providing us with a very Russian, very historical set that we’re super excited to hear! While Tchaikovsky’s work reflects upon a Russian triumph over Napoleon, Shostakovich’s commemorates the early stages of the Russian Revolution. This is a powerful, historical and thought-provoking set of music.

Find out more about the event here

Find out more about the Philharmonic Orchestra here



The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

R14 on Campus Map

Monday to Friday: 10am – 5pm

Saturday & Sunday:11am – 5pm

Free Entry


The Barber Institute was founded ‘for the Study and encouragement of art and music’ by Lady Barber in 1932. They continue to live up to her vision today, and we think they’re doing a very good job of it. With many events that are open to all it makes Fine Art – a notoriously exclusive form – available to all. With regular gallery tours, events for children, workshops, talks and drawing sessions, the Barber has created an inclusive space for everyone in the community that’s interested in art.

Best Upcoming Event: Sunday Gallery Tours

The Barber, every second and fourth Sunday of the month 2:30pm – free entry

If you want to find out more about the collections in the Barber, then this is the event for you. Maybe you’re confused about where to start with Fine Art, or you have some specific questions, whatever your thoughts these tours will answer all the questions you have and more. Have an hour being taken around the gallery with experts, their wealth of knowledge at your disposal. Each tour starts at 14:30 and the meeting place is below the portrait of Lady Barber in the foyer.

Find out more about the event here



Winterbourne House and Gardens

58 Edgbaston Park Rd, Birmingham B15 2RT

November-March 10.30am – 4pm Daily

£6 Entry


If the built-up city centre is getting you down then maybe a quick escape to Winterbourne Garden is exactly what you need. This quaint Edwardian house tucked away with a 7-achre botanical garden is a little oasis of green in the centre of built-up-Birmingham. Escape into history and into nature with a relaxing day in the gardens.

Best Upcoming Event: Christmas Private Dining in the Old Kitchen

Winterbourne House, 12:00 – 2:00pm – Festive Afternoon Tea £17.95 p.p., Christmas Lunch £19.95 p.p.

The Old Kitchen in the Edwardian House at Winterbourne is open for you and whoever you wish to bring to lunch. The room will be covered with traditional Christmas decorations, and you’ll have the choice of either a wintery Afternoon Tea, or a full Christmas Lunch. There is nowhere cosier to have a Christmas meal this season. Make sure you book soon though, because we all know everyone’s pining for that lunch as close to Christmas as you can get it!

Find out more about the event here



The Greenheart

Though it’s not quite ready yet, of course we think that one of our favourite (upcoming) hidden gems on campus is of course the Greenheart. It’s a space that will be open to all, for relaxing, studying, picnicking, light jogs – whatever you see fit.

Best Upcoming Event: The Greenheart Festival

June 2019 – May 2020

For nearly a whole year we will be celebrating the opening of the Greenheart with a festival full of events so that there will be something for everyone. We want everyone to be involved, staff, students, partners and the local community, because the Greenheart really is for everyone.

Celebrations start on the weekend of the 7th June 2019, so mark it down in your calendars! All activities will be free and open to all, with a prom, performances, activities and demonstrations to name only a few. We can’t wait!

Find out more about the event here