Type of project: Design-driven project
Collaborators: Department of Conservation, Artist contributions from Julian Southgate, Lynette Hartley and Sarah Mankelow
Sponsors/Funders: Christchurch City Council, Briford Trailers, Hire King, Life in Vacant Spaces, Parkhouse Garden Supplies, Tait Communications, Trees for Canterbury, Waterforce, Whakaora Te Waihora and Fern Factor

Designers: Jonathan Hall, Gina Payne
Location: Spark Park – Hereford Street, Cathedral Square & New Regent St, Christchurch, NZ
Completed: December 2015.
Status: Permanently planted, Mt Vernon Forest Park, Port Hills (2017)

Restless Forest was an innovative moving native garden created in 2015 in collaboration with the Department of Conservation. The forest combined landscape design, art, story-telling and natural history to draw attention to the plight of our natural heritage.  With each move through the inner-city a new chapter of its story was published [read here] and a corresponding illustration created for colouring-in. 

The forest had a unique look with curved corten steel edging the raised garden beds, dense trees and shrubs up to two meters in height to give the forest effect, a fake podocarp tree stump for seating (with a miniature door for fairies of course) and initially, some painted ‘mountains’ as a backdrop.  The formation changed with each move and each new chapter; Riparian Forest, Remnant Forest and finally Restorative Forest in 2017 where it combined with another project Tree Hill to represent integration into the urban context.  Innovation was at the core of this work to enable adaptability on rubble or paved sites, water retention, sculptured mulching and easy transportation.  In the winter of 2017 the Restless Forest found its final resting place, adding to ongoing restoration work in the much loved Christchurch Port Hills. 

More information can be found at the project website.

‘I am the Restless Forest.  Like a ghost I haunt these city streets, moving from place to place.  The remains of my ancestors lie in the soil, locked in the concrete beneath your feet.  I am a fragment of memory, a reminder of what was lost.  But I am also a window to what might be; a dream of a greener city.  And hidden in my heart there are treasures to be discovered.’

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