Tom Hoblyn garden 2021 chelsea

The garden as a sanctuary

My grandmother’s joy was most apparent the moment she returned to the house. She proudly filled vases with flowers and prepared delicious meals from the fruit and vegetables she had grown. The garden was my grandmother’s domain, her sanctuary, and the source of her self confidence.


Runner beans and Crocosmia

My Englishman’s garden, and mine [part 2] – The idea for our garden was simply to mix edibles and ornamentals. To me the principle was so radical, yet so simple that I wondered why it wasn’t more widely applied, particularly to small gardens. My Englishman liked the idea of a mixed garden, some of it edible, some of it ornamental, and all of it attractive.

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.


Building a framework

My Englishman’s garden, and mine [part 1] – 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.


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.

Great Dixter exotic garden

An Afternoon in the Tropics

Within this spartan simplicity, cultivated with meticulous care, I feel as if I am in a Japanese temple, pleasantly sheltered, meditative. The perfect place to contemplate the beauty of nature.