Experience as a garden designer - emmacrowgardendesign

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Experience as a garden designer

My passion for plants and gardening runs through my veins. I spent many hours as a child gardening with my mother at our home near Tavistock. My father is a tree expert and currently holds the world's largest private wood collection. I grew up with Latin plant names and family holidays waiting for my father to scramble down woody ravines to catalogue a rare tree!

After leaving school in Plymouth, I joined Hillier Nurseries, Hampshire where I undertook an apprenticeship. Working on the nursery and landscape departments, I widened my plant knowledge and developed an eye for design in both gardens and parks. Equipped with these foundation skills I went on to do a BSc(Hons) in Amenity Horticulture at the University of London and then a Masters degree in Plant Taxonomy. Following the publication of my research on a group of South African plants I became a curator at Limbe Botanic Gardens, Cameroon. I then took up a position as a researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where, affiliated with Imperial College I received a PhD for my studies on bamboo.

After the arrival of our two children my husband and I decided to return back to West Devon. I have been working as a gardener and a designer in numerous gardens for nearly nine years now. I have extensive knowledge of the plants that grow well here and I am well acquainted with the specific problems faced by gardeners in this area. The aesthetics and practicalities of the many different gardens I have encountered have sharpened my eye for design and I apply this experience to my own designs. Working closely with my clients, a garden evolves - in tune with its owner’s needs whilst connecting well with the house and surrounding landscape. I approach my designs with a considered use of hard landscaping, providing a stage for the key players - the plants themselves. A great deal of thought is given to pleasing plant combinations as well as to the naturalistic placing of plants so as to create harmony and elegance.

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