In an off-the-beaten-track corner of Rome a week ago, I realised that the layers of living, shown here by the excavation, have a quality which is present in so many of the gardens where I work. How many untold years have people cultivated this soil before? Who were they? Where did they come from? What were they doing? What was their joy? They have left much behind.

But sometimes there is nothing, where there has been no settlement or garden making before. A blank canvas. Then the task is different. One has to ‘make’ the layers to give a depth, and make a place of delight that is a garden. 

Layers of time

Thinking since about working in established gardens, and wanting to keep the echo and layers, and build on what is there and what we can see and feel, once we are confident that we can embellish the beauty and the uniqueness of the place, then we deserve to be there and begin work.

Established or new, traditional or contemporary, small or large, we should always be romantic, make beauty, be stylish, have panache and taste, and make all vibrant and alive, full of colour, and build new layers to enjoy and respect the place.