Based in Oxford, I have been working as a garden designer for over 20 years.
Recently, projects have taken me to Greece, Italy, France and Ireland. Being half Dutch and half English, I come with a good leavening of the well-known Dutch directness, so do forgive me! However, getting to the point immediately does seem to get the work done!
Growing up on an organic mixed farm just outside Oxford in lovely countryside by ancient river meadows, that timeless beauty remains my inspiration. Both my parents have very green fingers and I learnt so much by watching them from a tiny age. Immersed in nature, growing crops and looking after animals, it was obvious that the whole world of land, fields, birds, weather and animals, including ourselves, is one large family.
I was lucky enough when I was very young to have family travels to Holland, Sweden and France. One spring, when I was about seven, we drove slowly across Europe to Greece in a little Citroen 2CV, four of us crammed in somehow, and then flying on to Egypt. The contrasts of snow-capped mountains, storks nesting on chimneys, and then the sun and the heat and the desert and the pyramids.
Then we had to drive back! I was set alight! I so remember these journeys. They made me.
I love our English weather, our particular light, our air, our soil, our rain, our greenness. Everything seems to grow. The riches of our gardening history, personalities and characters… they are our treasury, our quarry, our palette that we work with, and our joy of every day.