London has been my home for thirty years but I grew up in a semi rural area of West Lancashire. I was introduced to growing plants from an early age by my parents, who were knowledgeable gardeners, producing fruit and vegetables for their large family. I also had a natural talent for drawing and painting which led me to attend Art College where I gained an honours degree in graphic design. After leaving college I went to London to work as a film animator and spent twelve years working on TV commercials and feature films, but during this time I also became an obsessive gardener.
In 1990, just four years after moving into my house in South West London I opened my garden for charity through the prestigious National Gardens Scheme and still continue opening most years. In fact, it was opening my garden to the public which helped me decide on a change of career. Having run out of space at home I’d had to start on other people’s gardens so I then left the film industry and became a jobbing gardener whilst studying garden design. In 1995 I was awarded a high merit from the College of Garden Design and established my design practice.
In 2003 I gained Registered Status with the Society of Garden Designers, indicating the high level of expertise and professionalism I had acquired. I continued to be an active member of the Society which culminated in being voted onto council and ultimately becoming Vice Chair. I am now a mentor for new designers in the Society, sharing my knowledge and passion for this complex and demanding profession.
My enthusiasm for talking about anything to do with gardening has led me into public speaking which I thoroughly enjoy. My style is challenging yet light hearted and my talks are illustrated with my own photography and artwork. I am regularly asked to talk to charities, gardening groups and organisations about a wide range of garden related topics.
I am also lucky enough to have co written a successful book called Planting Design Essentials which has a wealth of information for both beginners and experienced gardeners. In it I share my passion for using plants as an art form in a simple, easy to follow style and the book explains how even pruning can be creative.