My interest in gardening began when I moved to a newly converted house with a space outside that was described by the developers as a garden, but in reality was little more than three quarters of an acre of recently laid turf surrounded by stock fencing. At the time I knew next to nothing about plants and planting. But the move coincided with me leaving my job as Client Services Director of a London advertising agency, and – with more time on my hands – I was able to get down and dirty with the space outside and learn all about how to create a garden from scratch.
Eighteen years later the space that wasn’t a garden now very much is. To the point where, in June each year, the garden opens to the public as part of the NGS open garden scheme.
Six years ago I consolidated my knowledge with a year’s course at the KLC School of Garden Design, which at the time was based at the magnificent Hampton Court.
My background in creative services and client management has proved invaluable in managing projects where coordinating the requirements of client, contractors, suppliers et al is vital for a successful outcome. Budgeting, prioritising, balancing – all are fundamental to my mode of working.
It is my job to help my clients define and realise their vision for their garden. They may have seen and admired other gardens but lack the knowledge or time to create their own. Years of visiting gardens, studying gardens, working in gardens, combined with my experience of working on projects for myself and others has helped me to develop my skill in the manipulation of space, which is the starting point of any successful design.
Once the hard landscaping has been put in place it is the plants that transform what is essentially an artificial construction into an outside space that sits within and relates to its surroundings in a way that feels natural and effortless. Planting up and managing my own garden for the past seventeen years has given me the practical experience of the essentials of plants and planting, of the importance of soil structure and climate, the impact of location and aspect, the understanding of plant behaviour that can’t be learnt from books.
The essential ingredients for a good garden designer are an exceptional eye for the manipulation of space, an excellent knowledge of and feeling for plants, a solid base of practical gardening experience and sound business sense. All of which you will get from me if you appoint me to work on your garden.