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Sub-Region: South East England
Business: Owner - Linsey Evans Garden Design
 

Biographical Information

I was born in Buckinghamshire in the UK and grew up riding my horses around the surrounding Chiltern hills. My parents had a large garden and at a young age I learned from various green fingered members of my family how to look after it, mostly just keeping it tidy. I developed an interest in the wildflowers which grew plentifully in the Beech woods in which as children in a less paranoid age we were allowed to roam freely.I now live in Berkshire from where I run my garden design practice.
 
Please tell us a little about your gardening related business. 
I am a garden designer based in Berkshire in the UK about 35 miles west of London.  I design hard and soft landscaping for all sizes and shapes of garden from tiny courtyards up to several acres.  I provide the plans from concept sketches through master plan, construction detail, planting plan, lighting plan and anything else that's needed.  I outsource the construction of the gardens to trusted contractors, but manage the build for clients to ensure the garden is built to my specifications and the clients requirements.  My clients are in the private and public sector including business parks and golf clubs.  I work for property developers and architects and am currently designing a garden in India.  I aim to develop more gardens outside the UK. 
 
Tell us briefly about your favorite cause/business/product in which you are involved that you would like to share with the general public and why.
I don't have much time to do anything other than look after my garden and vegetable plot and run my busy garden and landscape design business.  However, I am hoping in future to incorporate into my gardens more re-claimed materials.  There is so much re-claimed hard landscaping material out there, it takes a bit of tracking down and can be more expensive, but it looks beautiful and costs our planet so much less than importing stone from abroad.   

Where can members get more of your advice?
Feel free to send me an email - you can get my address by visiting my Web site www.linsseysgardens.com.  I will shortly be adding an 'Ask Linsey a Question' function to the Web site, so this will be another way of getting advice.

Background Information

Briefly describe the climate where you garden now (climate zone, state, area) and any other areas where you have gardened in the past.
I garden in the UK, and as yet have not ever gardened anywhere else although I would love to do so.

How long have you been gardening?
35 years.

What triggered your interest?
Looking after my parents' large garden in Buckinghamshire and being around my family who are all keen gardeners.  I've always loved nature and wild flowers since a very small child it was a natural progression into  gardening. 

What is your specialty, expertise or claim to fame?
I love creating gorgeous herbaceous planting schemes, but my real specialty is creating garden layouts and making the most of any garden whatever its size or shape.  I design interesting, unique hard landscaping schemes then dress them with colourful planting with year-round interest.

  Linsey's Book Recommendations

 

gardendesign.jpg
 
by John Brooks - he's brought garden design to the attention of the masses and this book is informative, accessible, and generally the best reference book for designers and amateur gardeners who wish to know about the design process.
 

  Linsey's Favorite Websites

www.bbc.co.uk
- great for looking up plant information (height, size, preferences) when preparing planting plans, lots of good gardening advice.

Royal Horticultural Society web site - plant information, gardening information, gardens to visit, gardening news, loads of useful information well presented.

www.shootgardening.co.uk
- garden planning advice, ability to build your own plant database, lots of really useful, practical information for professionals and amateurs, designers gardens, things to do and much more a really nicely laid out site.

What formal education do you have?
I have a degree (Bsc) and a diploma in Garden Design.  But I consider myself completely self-taught.  Everything I know I picked up from friends and family, books and the Internet.
 
 
What is your favorite garden or plant-related topic? Tell us a little about them.
 

What is your biggest gardening pet peeve? Tell us about it.
People who will not prune shrubs properly.  Most people are afraid to give their shrubs a good old 'haircut'.  They will not be persuaded that this is what keeps them looking great and flowering.  There is nothing more ugly than a shrub that is all leggy and shapeless because it's annual pruning has been too tentative.  There are only a few plants that need no or only minimal pruning and most can be cut really hard without suffering damage.  I like to use shrubs as a backdrop to loose perennial planting and the shrubs need to be tight and structural - this only happens if they are kept correctly pruned.

How much time per week do you spend gardening?
When the light permits I am in my garden or on my allotment every evening and at least one whole day every weekend.  All my leisure time is spent gardening.

How much time per week do you spend working at the business of gardening,such as consulting, reading, writing or talking about your gardening subject?
I am a full time garden designer.  I work a full day and often all weekend designing gardens, writing my blog, and doing other marketing activities related to the business. 

What gardening or horticultural clubs, societies, or organizations (or any other interest) do you belong to?
The Royal Horticultural Society.  The Society of Garden Designers.

Gardening Questions

What do you like most about gardening?
It feeds the soul and is so relaxing.  If I'm stressed I go outside and do something in the garden or on my vegetable patch and I always feel better afterwards and have often resolved creative blocks, or tricky issues.

What do you dislike most about gardening?
There's not much I dislike doing in the garden - I even love digging and weeding.  However, I hate the rain and am definitely a fair weather gardener which can be a problem here in the UK!  I'm not keen on de-cobwebbing my shed either - I hate spiders, yuk!

What individual has influenced your gardening interest the most? How?
My maternal grandfather - most of his back garden was taken up growing vegetables and the rest was stuffed with colourful plants.  I always remember being given the task of clipping the Lavender hedge that ran along the front boundary and the smell was so wonderful.  I didn't really appreciate it at the time, but visiting his garden is one of the things I remember vividly from my early youth.  

What is your favorite place or activity in the garden?
Hmmm, that's a tough one - can I have two?  I love pruning which I find relaxing and satisfying and it makes me stop and appreciate each plant in the garden.  I often go out armed with a glass of wine and my secateurs on a summer's evening (I know it sounds dangerous!) and do a bit of pruning.  But, I also love being in my greenhouse - it's only small, but I grow a lot of my vegetables and herbs from seed and it's so quiet and relaxing up there, I am in my own world and nothing disturbs me.  I always feel relaxed and happy when I've spend a profitable hour or so in the greenhouse.

What is your favorite time in the garden?
My favourite time in the garden is an early Summer evening.  I love the heat and the smell of the plants and the quality of the light as the sun just starts going down is absolutely sublime.  There are usually plenty of birds, often a hedgehog scuttling about, sometimes some early, slightly confused bats, my cat usually appears, I can't describe how happy it makes me feel.

What is your favorite public or private garden in the world? Why?
I love Trebah in Cornwall.  It's a magical, jungly place with loads of huge Trachycarpus fortuneii and giant Gunnera manicata.  It ends with a stony beach, its just a perfect spot and so unexpected.

What is your favorite color in the garden?
All shades of purple from pale lilacs right up to the strong dark purple leaves of Cotinus 'Royal Purple'.

If you could grow only one plant, what would it be?
Lavender.  I couldn't live without the smell in the garden.  There are loads of different flower and leaf colours, plus variations in flower heads.  It can be used as hedging, grown in pots, makes a fabulous scented border edge - it's very versatile.  It is also great for attracting bees and other insects.

What plant have you tried to grow that has given you the most trouble? Or, what plant would you like to grow and can't, and why?
Lavender!  I have one patch that keeps dying off over Winter.  I think I've figured it out this year though - I was cutting it back too far and too late in the season.

What is your favorite gardening outfit or costume?
Shorts and T-Shirt on a hot sunny day, but mostly I'm in layers of jumpers and jeans and wellies.

Do you have a gardening philosophy you would like to share with other gardeners? What is it?
Throw out the rule book.  If you want to grow something, but the books say it won't grow in your garden give it a try - what's the worst that can happen.  Mostly, I try and grow things that want to grow in my garden, but you can surprise yourself by putting in something that thrives which, technically, should not.  So, just see what works for you.
 

Who is your own favorite gardening personality on TV, radio or in print? Why?
Chris Beardshaw (he broadcasts extensively on British TV) - he's knowledgeable, personable, interesting and cute!

What is the one question about gardening you would really like people to ask you?
Why should everyone garden?
 
And what's the answer?
A.  Because nothing is better for you physically and mentally.  For depression, it's better than Prozac.  If you feel blue, go outside, dig a little, do some weeding, plant something, or just have a bit of a tidy up - I can guarantee you'll feel better.  These days no-one wants to do anything, there's too much sitting around, or rushing around with an agenda, so take half an hour and go outside and do something.  If you don't have a garden, ask an elderly neighbour if they want any help, but do something.  I believe gardening can positively impact on people's health and well being in a massive, if unquantifiable, way.

What is a garden myth you hear frequently which you know is untrue?
Gardening is for 'old' people

And, what is the reality?
Not true.  Gardening is for everyone, and it's not some mystical, specialised craft, anyone can do it with the application of a bit of common sense and hard work. I love it when children get involved, once you get hooked you're hooked for life.

What group or kind of person do you think would benefit most from the advice you can give on gardening?
Anyone who wants to get the most out of their garden, particularly people with busy lives.  Anyone who has an awkward outdoor space - I love a challenge.  I'd love to do more gardens for people with special needs - alzheimers and dementia patients in particular can benefit from a garden designed specifically for their needs.  Anyone who wants to know what to plant where - I'm particularly keen on shade loving plants.  Anyone who wants to combine plants in a harmonious way - I love designing herbaceous borders.  

 

Would you like to participate, or can you recommend someone whoyou think should? We're always looking for more expert gardeners totell about theirphilosophies and give their plant recommendations contact us and we'llget started (it's easy and a great way to promote yourself).

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