Podcast - "Talking Gardens" from Gardens Illustrated

Gardens Illustrated has launched a new podcast in which editor Stephanie Mahon invites prominent names in garden design to describe their fantasy garden, as well as discussing the people and places that inspire them.

James Wong throws himself into the task of imagining his perfect garden with a space featuring a retractable glass roof and walls.  He also talks about the tropical plants he grew up with and terrariums, while writer Alice Vincent imagines her black fantasy writing shed inspired by Derek Jarman’s garden, surrounded by huge clouds and waves of perennials and naturalistic planting.

Head gardener of Great Dixter, Fergus Garrett, always makes for a good listen.  He talks to Stephanie about the importance of Great Dixter as a place of education and for the horticultural community to learn and share knowledge.  He also speaks about the wild landscape of Turkey and people who inspire him, from Christopher Lloyd to Dan Pearson.

There’s a broad ranging interview with Tom Stuart-Smith, who describes his interesting new plant library at the Serge Hill Project, a horticultural resource centre where they’ll be keeping records of plants, such as how they grow in the wild and perform over a period of time.  He discusses his work in India and his garden in Morocco.  He also talks about the importance of soil science and explains how he grows plants in sand or crushed concrete.  In terms of inspiration, Tom says of Cassian Schmidt and the Hermannshof Garden in Germany, ‘I’ve learnt more about plants and how to use them than anywhere - even Piet Oudoulf learns something new there’.  Hans Kramer’s ‘Hessenhof’ nursery is another source of awe of him, with astonishing plants such a range of new baptisias.  His tips on creating a garden include an allusive combination of simplicity as well as enough complexity of planting to encourage wildlife.  Troy Scott Smith discusses Sissinghurst and their new approach to irrigation and Sarah Price talks about her planting loves and hates.

Stephanie steers her interviewees well and with such a wealth of contacts in the industry, this is a podcast to watch for an insight into how the great and good for the garden design world tick.