Planting memories

I consider myself fortunate to have a career that is more like a pastime.

I just love what I do - designing and installing fabulous gardens - but the best thing is seeing the joy that a great garden can bring to its owners.

It is a joy that can be enjoyed selfishly with peaceful walks in solitude or it can be shared with friends and family.

When shared, a great garden helps to impart lasting memories of a time and is a place that always seems to bring a smile to one's face.

I hope all my avid readers can instantly recall fond memories of summers gone by that they spent willowing away in some picturesque garden.

Our minds grow less sharp and our memories seem to blur as we age but there are certain details that remain charred into our cognitive hard drives.

My memories of happy summer holidays as a child revolve around a number of key elements in the gardens that I roamed and played in.

Not that I knew it at the time but the foundations of a life-long interest in plants and design were being forged amongst the rolling mounds of lawn and the dappling light and peeling bark of the silver birch trees.

To this day I am still bewildered by what can be achieved with the gentle manipulation of nature.

Every garden and landscape I design is different; unique to the requirements of its owners and the environment that supports the garden.

The basic principles of good design, common sense and science all play an equal part in achieving greatness.

Good design only goes so far.

The science behind what will thrive and where is just as important.

And above all else common sense must play a role right from the outset.

First impressions are often quite correct.

With an eye for good design, sound knowledge of the plants and environmental factors and the practicality of common sense you should be able to create a plan that works. I suggest using your fond memories to help you develop ideas.

I think that most of us would like to recreate the fond memories of our past for one reason or another.

Recreating the environment in which the memories developed is a great way to start and the results will be spectacular, as they will be very personal to you.

Find other areas where you can do this so you can create a living collage of past good times.

I remember scent almost as much as visual stimuli.

Freshly mown grass always reminds me of hot summer days, and the scent of english lavender reminds me of my grandmother's hedges.

Research has shown that scents are a very important aid to memory recall. It is a dimension that is hard to appreciate in today's world, which used be to be tomorrow's world. Ipads and iPhones and those other essential pieces of kit don't have apps that can tell you about smells - good or bad!

Gardens are not just flat one dimensional objects like a screen or a plan.

They are living, breathing multi dimensional environments that are only limited by you imagination and sadly your budget.

Remember great gardens don't have to be unaffordable, they just have to be clever.

So use memories to recreate the good times of yesteryear in your garden.

Sometimes you need to look back in order to advance!

The Marlborough Express