Adventures in Boots – Tuscany- July 2015

At the Chelsea Flower show Dan Pearson won the coveted ‘Best in Show’ award and of course a gold medal. One of my clients who visited the show on a non-rainy day said the boulders the designer had used were just terrific and ‘looked as though they had been there forever’. I don’t think we had any public hissy fits this year over the judging and subsequent medal bestowal but my well connected garden pal says one or two were not happy… don’t believe all you see on the telly, the designers may say they’re happy with their medals but actually they’re not.

In particular, one garden I noticed stood out and that was the RHS People’s Choice Best Fresh Garden. The designer Ruth Willmot had used a splendid choice of trees and planting based around a DNA helix model represented on the ground by a stone path. Ruth had designed the garden for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and won a silver gilt medal.

Since I last wrote I’ve been adventuring, not in boots but in flip-flops, around Tuscany and in particular two historic gardens near the ancient town of Lucca. Villa Reale di Marlia and Villa Torrigiani di Campannori were the two estates I subjected my companions to, however they enjoyed the visits as much as I did even though it was a tad on the warm side. One stark difference I noticed (apart from the design) between historic gardens in Tuscany and UK was the sheer lack of people in Tuscany – there was just a handful of folk visiting on the days we selected. If we’d opted for a similar trip in the UK we’d have been plagued with coaches, cafes, gift shops and a cornucopia of other money making ‘attractions’.  What a pleasure it was to experience something other than that in Italy.


At home, I’m knuckling down with the design and installation of a new herb garden. There’ll be twenty two different herbs including shrub herbs such as roses, rosemary, lavender and cistus planted in a circlet that forms the raised boundary of a sunken patio. Colour, scent, flowers, bees and butterflies…what more could you wish to be surrounded by on a summer’s day in an English garden.

Do drop me a line if you have any queries 07708 643313  TTFN