It’s not often you find a gardener who’s a designer. Or, for that matter, a designer who will readily admit to being a gardener: the best ones will usually be keen gardeners in their own gardens, but professionally there’s not much cross-over between the two.
As time goes on, though, I’m finding the lines are becoming increasingly blurred for me between professional gardening and designing. I’ve had two regular clients ask me to design their gardens, or bits of them: one is a clear-ground project which will probably take years as we’re doing it mostly by hand; the other is a perfectly good garden at the moment which they’re about to rip up for an extension, so it’ll need a re-work afterwards.
What’s more, a designer I sometimes work for as a gardener has now asked me to help her out and design part of two of her clients’ gardens – they’ve asked for veggie gardens and she doesn’t know much about vegetables.
So all of a sudden, I find myself being a professional gardener and a designer.
Well that got me thinking. I actually really enjoy designing with plants – not so keen on the concrete and garden furniture bit, but love the idea of putting my favourite plants together so that they really sing. I’ve started to wonder if I might be able to break the mould a bit, and wear two hats at the same time – professional gardener, and plant designer.
To that end (and so that I’m not entirely talking out of my backside when asked to do these projects) I’ve signed up for a college course at Capel Manor College in London. This is one of the better design colleges, and to its great credit has a garden design course that concentrates solely on plant design. I’m starting by learning how to draw (never a great strength of mine) – first lesson at the end of next month. Wish me luck!