in conversation | jinny blom | landscape designer

Jinny Blom is one of the leading garden designers in the UK. Her work regularly features in publications throughout Europe and the US and ranges from town gardens to vast country estates. She is renowned for her Chelsea show gardens and work with the royal family.  

Previously a psychotherapist Jinny is also on the board of the U.S. Therapeutic Landscapes Network and a Brother of the Artworks Guild.

The Royals adore her, as do we. 

1. What made you become a landscape designer?

It was the realisation that it fused together everything I love: landscapes, architecture, people, structure, nature, natural materials, plants and light. I had been a psychologist previously working in the rough end of mental health and had seen the transforming effect that changing the environment positively had on my clients. The same is true today. Landscaping is transformative when it is done well.

Scottish Highland Estate

2. Where do you begin when planning a garden?
I usually start a few km away checking out the local area, looking for significant features, analysing the soil and climate, planting and the views. Then I spend time with my client. My aim is to give them what they think they want but in such a way that they always feel it is theirs. They will be there long after I am gone!

3. How do you choose your plants?
Usually by the conditions of the site. I am very careful in the country not to plant very ornamental things unless they are contained in a walled garden as they look out of place and suburbanise a house.

Sussex Farm

4. Can you tell us a little about your next project?

I'm just coming to the end of a vast project in Kenya in the Rift Valley, on a wild black rhino reserve, so mainly preoccupied with getting it done. It has been fascinating adapting to the area and the people. In the UK or US it takes a two man team with a massive machine to plant a big tree. In Kenya it takes 20 guys and they do it all with their bare hands, no tools and almost bare feet. It's a whole lot of fun! And then I've a beautiful project starting in the English countryside. I have about forty projects running simultaneously.

5. What’s the next big trend in gardening?

I think gardening is beyond trends... Thank God! It's just there to be enjoyed so I urge everyone to get out there and experiment.

6. Essential plant?

Where do I start? This year I'm planting lots of Echium wildpretii... I think they'd love NZ as they come from the volcanic Canary Islands.

Echium wildpretii

7. Best piece of advice you've been given for gardening?

Learn to dig a hole properly. It's a matter of life and death.

8. Who’s your biggest inspiration

Any pioneer. Just do it!

See more of Jinny's work here

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