Showcasing the very best of contemporary garden design around the world.
Talented garden designers talk about their latest projects and demonstrate the links between healing, climate change, sustainability and the art of the garden.
EPISODE 1: Dan Pearson, Lowther Castle Challenged to build a garden within the ruins of Lowther Castle, Dan Pearson looked, for inspiration, to the fabulous gardens of Ninfa near Rome. First, he had to get rid of the chicken farm. The resulting scheme is a triumph, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund because it brings culture, community and employment to a depressed area of the country. House & Garden called it ‘the most ambitious garden restoration project in Europe.’
EPISODE 2: Arabella Lennox-Boyd, Gresgarth Hall She is the designer to the famous, including Sting and the Duke of Westminster. Arabella Lennox-Boyd, Italian by birth, is the doyenne of garden designers. At Gresgarth Hall in Lancashire she has been laying out and tweaking a garden for forty years. She is completely self-taught - an example to amateur designers and gardeners; in the first two years she lost every single shrub she planted! She never stops and, inbetween, tends the garden at her childhood home – a palazzo in Italy from which you see the Apennines in one direction, Rome in the other.
EPISODE 3: Tom Stuart-Smith, Hepworth Wakefield Gallery Garden Eight-times Chelsea Gold winner and prolific artist, Tom Stuart Smith says the designer’s role is ‘to set the scene without imposing a story.’ He has designed some of the grandest gardens in England, but his latest challenge is to create a community garden alongside the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield – a wasteland bordered by a six-lane highway.
EPISODE 4: Tania Compton, Fonthill House Fonthill, with its Capability Brown-style lake has been remodelled by designer Tania Compton. She has had to respect the history of the old gardens (the house dates from 1533) while coming up with a modern layout. Tania didn’t have to go far for this project – it’s near her own house in Wiltshire, where she designed a garden from scratch for her and her husband, Jamie, a collector who travels around the world in search of rare plants.
EPISODE 5: Cleve West, Horatio’s Garden, Salisbury It’s a unique project; the creation of gardens all over the country at NHS centres dealing with spinal injuries. Chelsea Gold winner Cleve West designed the first one, at Salisbury District Hospital. It was inspired by Olivia and David Chapple, whose son, Horatio (17) was killed by a polar bear during a science expedition to Norway. His parents hit upon the idea of creating a garden in his memory.
EPISODE 6: James Alexander-Sinclair, Northamptonshire Garden For a couple who bought an empty plot in Northamptonshire, James Alexander-Sinclair has drawn a garden out of nothing. He did it at the same time as re-working a long-established typical English garden in the same county. The projects are only a few miles apart, and they sum up the two types of work that land on the desks of the nation’s garden designers; adding to a mature garden...or starting with a blank canvas.
EPISODE 1: Piet Oudolf, Scampston Hall Forty years ago the Dutch designer Piet Oudolf rebelled against the use of annuals in favour of perennials. He led the New Perennial Movement – also known as ‘The Dutch Wave’ – and it changed garden design forever. His first major garden in this style was Scampston Hall in Yorkshire and it looks as good today as it did then.
EPISODE 2: Luciano Giubbilei, Tuscany Garden Twenty-five years after starting life as a garden designer, Luciano Giubbilei has finally created a garden in the country in which he was born. Having been brought up in the walled city of Siena, he jumped at the chance to create a stunning garden around a villa whose views are of a Tuscan landscape unchanged for centuries.
EPISODE 3: Jo Thompson, Cool Garden RHS Rosemoor At Rosemoor, the Royal Horticultural Society garden in Devon, Jo Thompson has designed a Cool Garden. In a county which has some of the highest rainfall in Britain, she’s had to use all the skills acquired in twenty-five years as a garden designer to show how water can be turned from a problem into an opportunity.
EPISODE 4: Andy Sturgeon, Battersea Power Station After ten years, the restoration of one of London’s landmarks is complete. Chelsea gold medal winner Andy Sturgeon was selected to design the rooftop gardens of Battersea Power Station and the result is a triumph. He has created a set of unique ‘gardens in the sky.’
EPISODE 5: Ann-Marie Powell, Wisley Wildlife Garden Designer Ann-Marie Powell has been set a challenge; to create two new gardens for the Royal Horticultural Society in Surrey. They include its first ever wildlife garden and the remarkable World Food Garden – a sign that this 200-year old society is moving with the times.
EPISODE 6: Alistair Baldwin, Kinross House In Scotland, Kinross House has been heroically restored as a tribute to the man who commissioned it in 1685 – Sir William Bruce. For this, the first Palladian house in Scotland, garden designer Alistair Baldwin knew that he had to create gardens which were sympathetic to its style.