the magnolia

The magnolia

For the past seven years the magnolia has been our borrowed landscape, a generous gift from its previous owner to the whole neighbourhood. I try not to think about its absence. After a long winter every green shoot seems like a miracle, but a whole tree covered in hundreds, maybe thousands, of large-petalled flowers is the boldest statement of renewal.


My Englishman’s garden, and mine

Part 1: Building the garden’s framework – The result was spectacular. The garden’s design was suddenly of a piece. The finely-textured wood resonated with the materials used inside the house. The garden’s clean-cut lines made it feel uncluttered and luxuriously spacious. Finally we could start to plant.

High Beeches

High Beeches is different

There are no prescribed routes to follow, no obviously engineered views. The remarkably sparse planting opens a multitude of angles. Walking through the garden presents ever changing compositions of shapes, textures, colours. Every visitor is invited to find their own perspective.


The pleasure of horticultural excellence

Not everything has to be cutting edge to be interesting. Sometimes, classic can be just as exciting – particularly if it is done with as much skill and expertise as at the Savill Garden!


Pam and Joanna’s garden

Pam and Joanna’s garden is full of family history. In between John’s hard landscaping the two of them plant and tend together. I sense that at times there is debate about how to do things, but that’s good, it keeps the garden alive. This garden is a successful combination of their different styles and above all it is a demonstration of Pam and Joanna’s shared love of plants.

seeds of lockdown

Lockdown seeds

What exactly was happening during the first lockdown? People had started gardening. They were also rushing into the parks. But why? Was it just boredom?

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

Garden design or Why I miss Chelsea

Gardens are spaces where humans interact with plants. Therefore their design should evoke and shape emotions. I expect this to work without the need for explanations. The intended feel of the garden should be immediately and intuitively accessible to the visitor.

spring trees London

Botanical lessons along empty streets

I used to think going for walks around the same few streets each day was boring. But I was wrong. I have rarely experienced spring as intensely as this year.



There were thousands and thousands of blue flowers covering the entire forest floor. It was like the trees had been put on a deep-blue high pile carpet of vast proportions. We had found a bluebell wood.

Savill Garden in spring

Fresh green perfection

One reason why the Savill Garden appeals to me might be that it is what I thought a garden ought to be when I was growing up in Germany in the 1970s and 80s. Today I know this garden style represents just one school of thought. But I still enjoy it, particularly when executed so well.