My research has always had two clear goals; i) to advance understanding of how to create ecologically based plant communities in landscape practice, and ii) to develop and test theoretical understanding of the key phenomena involved.  I have always tried to publish as much of my research as possible (although never as much as I would like) in order to build a scientific literature, particularly in relation to developing ecologically based, designed plant communities, to avoid re-inventing the wheel in the future.

I have maintained a plural approach to research design and analysis, employing the techniques which seemed best fitted to the work in question.  Given that my work deals with both quantitative ecology-horticultural science and social science, this has involved a very broad spectrum of approaches.

Much of my Ecology-Horticultural Science research has been based around understanding how species rich designed plant communities can be made and managed, and which species persist and which do not, and how environmental and management regimes affect this.  My work typically involves the creation of plant communities by sowing seed in situ, mirroring in some ways research with purely native plant communities in “Restoration Ecology”.

To date I have worked on the following plant community types:

My standard approach has often been to develop understanding of the germination and emergence ecology of the key species, often starting at the growth cabinet scale and then moving to field emergence studies working in monoculture.  The next step has been to create microcosm communities which are then subjected to various environmental and management factors with the outcomes recorded over as many years a possible.  Some of these latter experiments closely parallel what happens in commercial field scale practice.

Work on a new plant community often starts within the controlled conditions of a growth cabinet.  The experiments shown here establish the number of days different species take to germinate.

Once germination characteristics in the lab are understood, the effect of moisture regime on emergence in the real world are explored.  This experiment is in Germany in conjunction with Jelitto Seeds, and established the typical % emergence of almost 1000 different species across a range of moisture gradients.

Once individual species are sufficiently well understood, model research communities of  species can be created and then used to test interactions between species over long periods of time, mimicking what happens in the real world of practice.

In doing this research I have collaborated with a number of organisations, however mostly I have worked with the Royal Horticultural Society, at both RHS Wisley and RHS Harlow Carr.   



Hitchmough, J.D. (in prep, completion 2015) Sowing the Seeds; designing extraordinary meadows, steppes and prairies, Timber Press

Hitchmough, J.D. (2013) The role of ecologically based vegetation in urban infrastructure. Landscape Architecture Frontiers (China) 1,3,46-58.

Hitchmough, J.D. (2013) Applying an ecological approach to extensive, designed herbaceous vegetation in urban green infrastructure. Chinese Landscape Architecture,  29, 207, 22-26.

Hitchmough, J.D. and Dunnett, N. (2013) Design and planting strategy in the Olympic Park, London. Topos, 83, 72-77.

Hitchmough. J.D., and Khaliq, F.K. (2013) Long-term survival of Penstemon in northern England. The Plantsman, 12,4. 60–66

Hitchmough, J.D. (2013) Conserving the grey?   Management of vegetation without an end-point in culturally important landscapes. In; Harney, M. (Ed.) Gardens, Garden Structures and Designed Landscapes in Historic Building Conservation, Blackwell.

Hitchmough, J.D. and Cummins, H. (2011) Cold hardiness of winter-growing South African plants. The Plantsman, 10,2, 104-111.

Hitchmough. J.D. (2011) Exotic plants and planting in the sustainable, designed urban landscape. Landscape and Urban Planning, 100, 380-382.  Invited paper for Special Edition, Landscape and Urban Planning at 100

Hitchmough, J.D. (2008) New approaches to ecologically based, designed urban
plant communities in Britain: do these have any relevance in the USA? Cities in the Environment, Ecological Landscape Edition, 1, 2, Article 10

Hitchmough, J.D. and Innes, S. (2007) The Cultivation of Primula in Meadows. The Plantsman, 6,2, 113-119.

Dunnett, N. and Hitchmough, J.D. (2004) The Dynamic Landscape: Design Ecology and Management of Naturalistic Urban Planting. SPON, London, pp. 332

Hitchmough, J.D. and Fieldhouse, K. (2003) The Plant User Handbook, Blackwell, Oxford,  pp. 400

Hitchmough J. D. (1994) Urban Landscape Management.  Inkata/Butterworths, Sydney, Australia, 600p


Hitchmough, J.D., and Wagner, M. (2013) The dynamics of designed plant communities of rosette forming forbs for use in supra-urban drainage swales Landscape and Urban Planning, 117, 122-134.

Sayuti, Z. and Hitchmough, J.D. (2013) Effect of sowing time on the emergence and growth of South African grassland species.   South African Journal of Botany, 88, 28-35.

Hitchmough, J.D., and Wagner, M. (2011) Slug grazing effects on seedling and adult life stages of North American Prairie plants used in designed urban landscapes. Urban Ecosystems, 14, 279-302.  

Hitchmough, J.D., Innes, S. and Mitschunas, N. (2011) The effect of seed treatment and depth of sowing on seedling emergence in Primula species.   Seed Science and Technology. 39.539-551.

Hitchmough, J.D. (2009) Diversification of grassland in urban greenspace with planted, nursery-grown forbs. Journal of Landscape Architecture (JOLA), Spring, 2009, 16-27.

Hitchmough, J.D., Paraskevopoulou, A, and Dunnett, N.  (2008) Influence of grass suppression and sowing rate on the establishment and persistence of forb dominated urban meadows. Urban Ecosystems, 11, 33-44.

Ahmad, H., and Hitchmough, J.D. (2007). Germination and emergence of understorey and tall canopy forbs used in naturalistic sowing mixes. A comparison of performance in vitro v the field. Seed Science and Technology, 35,3: 624-637.

Jorgensen, A., Hitchmough, J.D., and Dunnett, N. (2007) Woodland as a setting for housing, appreciation and fear and the contribution to residential satisfaction and place identity in Warrington New Town, UK. Landscape and Urban Planning, 79, 273-287.

Hitchmough, J.D., and  De La Fleur, M. (2006) Establishing North American Prairie vegetation in urban parks in northern England. Effect of management practice and initial soil type on long term community development. Landscape and Urban Planning, 78, 386-397.

Hitchmough, J.D., Reid, E., and Dourado, A. (2005) Establishment and      persistence of field sown North American prairie grasses in southern England in response to mulching and extensive weed management. Journal of Environnmental Horticulture, 23, 2, 101-108.

Hitchmough, J.D., De La Fleur, M., and Findlay, C. (2004) Establishing North American Prairie vegetation in urban parks in northern England: 1. Effect of sowing season, sowing rate and soil type.  Landscape and Urban Planning, 66, 2, 75-90. 

Hitchmough, J.D., Kendle, A.D., and Paraskevopoulou, A. (2001) Seedling emergence, survival and initial growth in low productivity urban “waste” soils; a comparison of British forbs and grasses with continental European forbs. Urban Ecosystems, 5, 4, 285-308 (published in December 2003).

Hitchmough, J.D. (2003) Effect of sward height, gap size and slug grazing on the germination and establishment of Trollius europaeusRestoration Ecology, 11, 1, 20-28.

Hitchmough, J.D., Kendle, A.D., and Paraskevopoulou, A. (2003) Seedling emergence, survival and initial growth in low productivity urban “waste” soils; a comparison of North American prairie forbs with meadow forbs and grasses native to Britain. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology. 78, 1, 89-99.

Hitchmough, J.D, Gough, J. and Corr, B. (2000) Dormancy and germination in a wild collected ecotype of Trollius europaeus. Seed Science and Technology.  28, 549-558.

Hitchmough, J.D. (2000) Establishment of cultivated herbaceous perennials in purpose sown native wildflower meadows in south west Scotland. Landscape and Urban Planning. 714, 1-15.

Woudstra, J. and Hitchmough, J.D. (2000) The enamelled mead: History and practice of exotic perennials grown in grassy swards. Landscape Research. 25,1, 29-47.

Hitchmough, J. and Woudstra, J. (1999) The ecology of exotic herbaceous perennials grown in managed native grassy vegetation in urban landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning. 45, 107-121.

Hitchmough J.D., Curtain L., Hammersley L., and Kellow J. (1996) The effect of gap width and turf type on the establishment of the Australian forb Bulbine bulbosaRestoration Ecology, 4,1, 1-9.

Hitchmough J.D., Kilgour R.A, Morgan J.W., Shears I.G., (1994)  Efficacy of some grass specific herbicides in controlling exotic grasses in native grassy vegetation. Plant Protection Quarterly, 9,1, 28-34.

 “Scientific” Research papers/book chapters on what people think of designed plant communities

Jorgensen, A., Hitchmough, J.D., and Dunnett, N. (2007) Woodland as a setting for housing, appreciation and fear and the contribution to residential satisfaction and place identity in Warrington New Town, UK. Landscape and Urban Planning, 79, 273-287.

Jorgensen, A., Hitchmough, J.D. and Dunnett, N. (2005) Living in the Urban Wildwoods: A Case Study of Birchwood, Warrington New Town, UK. In:  Kowarik, I. and Korner, S. (Eds), Wild Urban Woodlands, New Perspectives for Urban Forestry, pp 95-116, Springer, Berlin.

Jorgensen, A., Hitchmough, J.D., and Calvert, T. (2002) Woodland space and edge interaction and its impact on perception of safety and preference in urban parks. Landscape and Urban Planning, 60, 135-150.

Hitchmough, J.D., and Bonugli (1997) Attitudes of residents of a medium sized town in south west Scotland to street trees. Landscape Research, 22,3, 327-337.