We have had an opportunity to interview one of the greatest gardeners of this decade – Katherine Crouch. Katherine was hailed as BBC Gardener of the Decade in 2008 and BBC Gardener of the Year back in 1999.
Get to know this award-winning gardener and her story below.
1. How did you get started in designing gardens? What sparked your interest in garden design?
I have been gardening since I was 10 and studied Product Design at Glasgow School of Art, gardening qualifications were not available as degree courses back in the Dark Ages. I turned professional in 2000 after winning BBC Gardener of the Year in 1999
2. What do you think are the current trends in garden design?
I am not a great fan of what I call Modern London Rectilinear. Some are very boring. The sort of gardens I cannot imagine having a riotous party in, involving lots of beer. Down in the West Country most people prefer traditional romantic gardens. Good structure, local stone and fab plants never goes out of style.
3. What are some of your favourite gardens?
Snowshill Manor in the Cotswolds, East Lambrook Manor in Somerset and my Mum’s garden. Almost any garden on Madeira. And I had serious plant envy in Melbourne Botanic Gardens!
4. What do you love most about the career that you have chosen?
I will never have to wear a suit ever again! And every job is different. I still have to work out how to earn loads of money – horticulture is generally not well paid. I should probably charge more. I am perhaps not sufficiently fashionable.
5. What do you find most challenging about designing gardens?
Squeezing as much garden out of the budget as possible. Very few clients have wallets to match their dreams – just like me.
6. If there was one piece of advice you could give to anyone about making the most of their garden, what would it be?
Buy some really good quality expensive frostproof pots and furniture to last a lifetime. Ask for them as wedding presents. People here move on average every 8 years here – take the best of your garden with you.
7. Are there any particular garden designers that you admire or look up to?
I love Dan Pearson’s planting and Ian Kitson’s gardens. Bernard Trainor in Monterey, very in tune with the landscape.
8. Can you tell us about your own garden? What are you trying to do with it?
Actually I now live in a rented house with a really rubbish garden and the back yard is now covered in pots after breaking down my show garden (Taunton Flower Show – Gold!). So it’s a right mess. Hoping to get an allotment society started in the village to grow veggies and cut flowers.
9. Do you have favorite plant combinations that you use again and again?
Stipa tenuissima and Salvia Caradonna. Pennesetum villosum and Sedum Herbsfreude. Snowdrops and Cyclamen coum. Hostas and ferns. Phormium Alison Blackman underplanted with Ophiopogon planiscapus nigresens (why do tiny plants have the longest names?) Curled parsley and Tagetes Paprika. Narcussus Jenny and primroses. Agapanthus Navy Blue and Crocosmia Pauls Best Yellow. Buttercups and dandelions.
I could go on and on…..
10. Do you have mentors that helped become what you are today?
It’s a bit lonely sometimes. Actually I mentored a Landscape Design student, Stuart Hendrich, 4 years ago and we are now firm friends and he project managed our Chelsea garden, and was a superstar helping me with my Taunton garden all last week. It’s great to bounce ideas around with someone who is design savvy, and now he mentors me!