Professor Emeritus James Hitchmough
Department of Landscape Architecture
Emeritus Professor of Horticultural Ecology
+44 114 222 0610
Full contact details
Department of Landscape Architecture
My main research interests have centred around the ecology, design and management of herbaceous vegetation. In Australia this lead to the development of a still active research group in the restoration ecology of Australian native grasslands. Maintaining my strong interest in “native” semi-natural herbaceous vegetation, increasingly I have re-interpreted ecologically based herbaceous vegetation in the cultural context of the public greenspace of towns and cities.
This has resulted in a large volume of research on the creation of various native and non-native meadow, steppe and prairie vegetation from sowing seed in situ.
This vegetation is designed to be much more sustainable than the traditional herbaceous plantings, however the main goal of the work is to produce ecologically informed herbaceous plant communities that are highly attractive to the lay public.
1983-88: Lecturer in Amenity Horticulture at Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture, University of Melbourne, Australia
1989: Visiting Lecturer in Landscape Management, University of Manchester 1988-93 Senior Lecturer in Environmental Horticulture at Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture, Melbourne, Australia.
1993-95: Lecturer/Course Tutor in Environmental Horticulture at SAC Auchincruive, Ayr, Scotland
1995-2003: Reader in Landscape, Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield
2004: Professor of Horticultural Ecology, Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield
1975 - 79: University of Bath (School of Biological Sciences). B.Sc Honours Degree in Horticulture (Specialising in Amenity Horticulture), Second Class, First Division
1979 - 82: University of Bath (School of Biological Sciences) Postgraduate Research (Ph.D.) into: "Development of a Computerised Information System for Landscape Plant Selection". Awarded Ph.D in 1984.
- Research interests
As mentioned above, since the mid 1980's my main research interests have centred around the ecology, design and management of herbaceous vegetation. The research employs standard restoration ecology methodologies and involves rigorous collection and statistical analysis data.
As my interest in these new vegetation types has developed so has my desire to find out more about the aesthetic values and preferences of the public as they relate to urban vegetation. This has resulted in the development of a complementary strand of research based on the application of Environmental Psychology methodologies to designed urban vegetation.
A current PhD study (Helen Hoyle) looks at how ordinary people value designed vegetation, across planting character and structural gradients from the highly natural to the highly cultural. My PhD student research group currently consists of 5 PhD students. I collaborate on research with many individuals and organisations across the world and in Britain I have particularly strong links with the RHS.
I am an active publisher in both the research and professional literature, and my work results in numerous invites to keynote across the world.
- View this article in WRRO Environmental Horticulture: Science and Management of Green Landscapes. Croydon: Cabi.
- Plant User Handbook. Blackwell Science Ltd.
- The Dynamic Landscape. Taylor & Francis.
- Can sowing density facilitate a higher level of forb abundance, biomass, and richness in urban, perennial “wildflower” meadows?. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 74, 127657-127657.
- Can Trait-Based Schemes Be Used to Select Species in Urban Forestry?. Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, 3, 654618.
- How will climate change affect future urban naturalistic herbaceous planting? The role of plant origin and fitness. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 54, 126786-126786.
- Using big data to improve ecotype matching for Magnolias in urban forestry. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 48. View this article in WRRO
- A review of urban landscape adaptation to the challenge of climate change. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 11(2), 178-194. View this article in WRRO
- What determines how we see nature? Perceptions of naturalness in designed urban green spaces. People and Nature. View this article in WRRO
- How fast can conifers climb mountains? Investigating the effects of a changing climate on the viability of Juniperus seravschanica within the mountains of Oman, and developing a conservation strategy for this tree species. Journal of Arid Environments, 147, 40-53. View this article in WRRO
- Extended flowering and high weed resistance within two layer designed perennial “prairie-meadow” vegetation. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 27, 117-126. View this article in WRRO
- All about the ‘wow factor’? The relationships between aesthetics, restorative effect and perceived biodiversity in designed urban planting. Landscape and Urban Planning, 164, 109-123. View this article in WRRO
- Attractive, climate-adapted and sustainable? Public perception of non-native planting in the designed urban landscape. Landscape and Urban Planning, 164, 49-63. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Student Project: Assessing the effects of drought and temperature on the establishment of Juniperus seravschanica saplings in northern Oman. Sibbaldia: the Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, 14, 37-53.
- Combining horticulture with ecology and social science to create sustainable urban landscapes. Acta Horticulturae(1108), 159-164.
- Herbaceous Plants for Climate Adaptation and Intensely Developed Urban Sites In Northern Europe: A Case Study From the Eastern Romanian Steppe. Ekologia Bratislava, 34(1), 39-52. View this article in WRRO
- Ecology good, aut-ecology better; improving the sustainability of designed plantings. Journal of Landscape Architecture, 10(2), 82-91. View this article in WRRO
- Effect of sowing time on field emergence and growth of South African grassland species. South African Journal of Botany, 88, 28-35.
- Park life. Planet Earth(SUMMER), 8-9.
- The effect of seed treatment and depth of sowing on seedling emergence in Primula species. Seed Science and Technology(3), 539-551.
- Slug grazing effects on seedling and adult life stages of North American Prairie plants used in designed urban landscapes.. Urban Ecosystems, 279-302.
- Exotic plants and planting in the sustainable, designed urban landscape.. Landscape and Urban Planning, 380-382.
- Applying an ecological approach; The future of urban horticulture?. Acta Horticulturae, 881, 193-200.
- New approaches to ecologically based, designed urbanplant communities in Britain: do these have any relevance in the USA?. Cities in the Environment(2).
- Diversification of grassland in urban greenspace with planted, nursery-grown forbs. Journal of Landscape Architecture, 16-27.
- Influence of grass suppression and sowing rate on the establishment and persistence of forb dominated urban meadows. Urban Ecosystems, 11(1), 33-44.
- Woodland as a setting for housing-appreciation and fear and the contribution to residential satisfaction and place identity in Warrington New Town, UK. LANDSCAPE URBAN PLAN, 79(3-4), 273-287.
- 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(3), 624-637.
- Germination and emergence of understorey and tall canopy forbs used in naturalistic sowing mixes. A comparison of performance in vitro v the field. SEED SCI TECHNOL, 35(3), 624-637.
- Establishing North American prairie vegetation in urban parks in northern England: Effect of management and soil type on long-term community development. Landscape and Urban Planning, 78(4), 386-397.
- Establishment and Persistence of Field Sown North American Prairie Grasses in Southern England in Response to Mulching and Extensive Weed Management. Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 23(2), 101-108.
- What value exotic plant species?. Ecos, 26(3-4), 28-32.
- Establishing North American prairie vegetation in urban parks in northern England: Part 1. Effect of sowing season, sowing rate and soil type. Landscape and Urban Planning, 66(2), 75-90.
- Effects of sward height, gap size, and slug grazing on emergence and establishment of Trollius europaeus (Globeflower). RESTOR ECOL, 11(1), 20-28.
- Emergence, survival and initial growth of North American prairie forbs and British meadow forbs and grasses in low-productivity urban "waste" soils. J HORTIC SCI BIOTECH, 78(1), 89-99.
- Woodland spaces and edges: their impact on perception of safety and preference. LANDSCAPE URBAN PLAN, 60(3), 135-150.
- . Urban Ecosystems, 5(4), 285-308.
- Establishment of cultivated herbaceous perennials in purpose-sown native wildflower meadows in south-west Scotland. LANDSCAPE URBAN PLAN, 51(1), 37-51.
- The enamelled mead: History and practice of exotic perennials grown in grassy swards. Landscape Research, 25(1), 29-47.
- Germination and dormancy in a wild collected genotype of Trollius europaeus. SEED SCI TECHNOL, 28(3), 549-558.
- The ecology of exotic herbaceous perennials grown in managed, native grassy vegetation in urban landscapes. LANDSCAPE URBAN PLAN, 45(2-3), 107-121.
- Attitudes of residents of a medium sized town in south west Scotland to street trees. Landscape Research, 22(3), 327-337.
- Effect of gap width and turf type on the establishment of the Australian forb Bulbine bulbosa. RESTOR ECOL, 4(1), 25-32.
- TREE ESTABLISHMENT AND PERFORMANCE IN A COOL GROWING SEASON ARBORETUM. Arboricultural Journal, 19(4), 357-370.
- IMPACT OF SIMULATED CLIMATE CHANGE ON SLUG GRAZING IN DESIGNED PLANT COMMUNITIES. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, 18(3), 3835-3860.
- Designing sustainable urban landscape and meeting the challenge of climate change : a study of plant species adaptation and fitness under different climate change scenarios in public landscape of UK. Landscape Research. View this article in WRRO
- Introduction to naturalistic planting in urban landscapes, The Dynamic Landscape: Design, Ecology and Management of Naturalistic Urban Planting (pp. 1-32).
- Naturalistic herbaceous vegetation for urban landscapes, The Dynamic Landscape: Design, Ecology and Management of Naturalistic Urban Planting (pp. 172-245).
- Herbaceous plants and geophytes., Environmental horticulture: science and management of green landscapes (pp. 157-174). CABI
- Introduction to environmental horticulture: issues and future., Environmental horticulture: science and management of green landscapes (pp. 1-8). CABI
- Semi-natural grasslands and meadows., Environmental horticulture: science and management of green landscapes (pp. 175-191). CABI
- Conserving the Grey? Management of Vegetation without an End-Point in Culturally Important Landscapes, Gardens & Landscapes in Historic Building Conservation (pp. 219-226). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
- Selecting Plant Species, Cultivars and Nursery Products, Plant User Handbook (pp. 7-24). Blackwell Science Ltd
- Introduction to Plant Use in the Landscape, Plant User Handbook (pp. 3-6). Blackwell Science Ltd
- Establishment of Planted Nursery Stock, Plant User Handbook (pp. 95-112). Blackwell Science Ltd
- Herbaceous Perennials, Plant User Handbook (pp. 325-342). Blackwell Science Ltd
Conference proceedings papers
- The plant community: a model for horticultural thought and practice in the 21st century?. Acta Horticulturae(1189) (pp 113-118) View this article in WRRO
- Localism in planting design in a time of increasing global urbanism and climate change. 49th World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, IFLA 2012 (pp 556-570)
- The Perception of Kuala Lumpur Publics’ on Tree Retention and Urban Development. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 49 (pp 215-226)
- THE PERCEPTION OF KUALA LUMPUR PUBLICS' ON TREE RETENTION AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT. 1NCEBS CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS: 1ST NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL-BEHAVIOUR STUDIES (pp 273-286)
- Living in the urban wildwoods: A case study of Birchwood, Warrington New Town, UK. WILD URBAN WOODLANDS: NEW PERSPECTIVES FOR URBAN FORESTRY (pp 95-116)
- PHILOSOPHICAL AND PRACTICAL CHALLENGES TO THE DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT OF PLANTINGS IN URBAN GREENSPACE IN THE 21st CENTURY. Acta Horticulturae(643) (pp 97-103)
- Teaching activities
Module co-ordinator for:
- LSC 6008 Greenspace Maintenance
- LSC 231 Materials of Landscape - Planting Design
- LSC 333 Materials of Landscape - Detailed Design
- LSC 6005 Design and Management stream for Special Project.
- Professional activities
- Member of Departmental Executive
Departmental REF Co-oridinator for the December 2013 submission and all previous RAE Submission back to 1996
These fall into two major groups; speaking at conferences and seminars, and secondly consultancy work with the landscape industry. With regard to the former I am regularly invited to speak, normally to deliver Keynote Presentations at various conferences and seminars around the world.
As an example of my level of activity, since January 2013 I have delivered keynote presentations at academic and professional conferences in; Stockholm, Prague, Torino, Esfahan (Iran), Newport (USA), New London (USA) Melbourne, Brisbane, Chendong (China), Hanover, and Copenhagen, in addition to events in the UK.
Consultancy work is largely associated with putting into practice the outcomes from my research on herbaceous vegetation in high profile, prestigious projects. With my colleague Professor Nigel Dunnett I was Lead Planting Design and Horticultural Consultant at the 2012 Olympic Park, and responsible for the design and implementation of over 10 ha of planting.
I currently have a number of significant projects in train, including a 10ha plus project “Big Sky Meadow” for the RHS at Hyde Hall Garden.
1995 - : Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture
2013: Fellow of British Naturalists Association