Gardeners, Designers – or Garden Makers? by Anne Wareham

August 18, 2016

in Articles, General Interest

My apologies. This was not the piece I intended to publish this week, and I had no intention of popping up again so soon to annoy you. But today I got annoyed and you know how rare that is.

For many years I had wanted to define and articulate the difference between those people who happily and simply garden, those people who professionally design gardens and those of us who do both at once, continually – usually in the same garden – as amateurs. So I wrote this piece for RHS The Garden –

Garden Makers

It’s that last sentence which is critical. Garden Makers, in my definition, are getting their hands dirty and making their brains hurt continually, and always refining, improving and sweating over their own garden. And sometimes the results of these – amateur – efforts shine.

Think of Special Plants, Derry Watkins’ garden, Kate Patel’s Barn House Garden in Gloucestershire, or Tony Ridler’s masterpiece in Swansea for examples. Or in America, James Golden’s Federal Twist and Pat Webster’s Glen Villa These were not made by professional garden designers. And that, without doubt, leads to significant differences from the professionally designed garden.

I have nothing against professional designers – some of my best friends are professional designers. But they work in a different context under different constraints. I think this distinction is worth noting and even celebrating.

So I’m more than miffed when I come across this press release:

Garden Maker’s Day at The English Gardening School – speakers: Arne Maynard, Diarmuid Gavin and Julian & Isabel Bannerman.

All professional garden designers.

Please could you consider, garden designers, letting us have our own patch? Our own designation?

And does anyone ever think that we garden makers may have more to learn from each other than from these relentlessly paraded professionals? (though count me out there, if it involves public speaking)

Anne Wareham.


Small Portrait Anne Wareham copyright Charles Hawes

Subscribe to the thinkinGardens Blog

Enter your email address to get new articles from the thinkinGardens blog by email:

Previous post:

Next post: