Former students create gardens for Essex Wildlife Trust

June 2022

Image for press release - A close-up photo of former student, Alex, smiling towards the camera
(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Writtle University College graduate, Alex Pettitt, has made an exciting announcement.

Since completing his MA Landscape Architecture at Writtle University College, Alex has enjoyed a successful career within the sector. He is the managing director and landscape architect at Topoforma Landscape, has been featured in Pro Landscaper magazine and contributed to a silver medal-winning RHS Flower Show Tatton Park garden.

This summer, Alex is undertaking another important design. He said: "We are delighted to share that we have received planning approval on a project we've been we've been working on for a while! The project, for the Essex Wildlife Trust Thameside Nature Discovery Park, forms a picnic area and ecology-focused gardens, which will create a destination point in the park with strong links to the site's industrial heritage."

The work has been undertaken alongside another Writtle University College graduate, Sharon Chilvers. Her dissertation project, entitled 'Industrial Wilds', has now been written into the nature park's vision for the future.

Sharon asked Alex's team to work alongside her. Together, they have created an immersive visitor experience that showcases sustainable and ecological design, also alluding to the park's industrial past.

John Little consulted on the project and utilised his knowledge from his experimental gardens at Hilldrop in Essex, to implement design for future sustainability, enhancing the significant ecological assets, and demonstrating what can be achieved for anyone at any scale.

Alex said: "The project moves on to the technical stage next - we will be working on the experimental planting beds, which will feature seed mixes sown on different aggregates in place of traditional top soils. It will be exciting to see how this progresses!"

For more information on Writtle University College's Landscape Architecture courses, go to