Week 6: Imagination Designing a garden is all about imagination. This may seem like an obvious statement, but it seems to me it’s often lost during the long process of creating a garden. It’s not just about imagining what the layout of the garden might be, the materials you could use or even the specific plants that might work. It’s not even about imagining what the client might like or worse, request. It is about all of these things and another much more critical thing. It’s about trying to imagine what the garden you create is going to look like in the years after you’ve finished it. It’s all about imagining the future.
When it comes to trees you need to imagine what they’re going to look like in 5, 10, 50 even 100 years time. You do of course also need to imagine how they might look the day you finish, as this is what the client is actually going to judge you on, in the short term at least. This is not so easy, but you need to try and imagine it. It’s all part of the design process.
Right now I’m imagining planting three large Rhus typhina (Stag’s horn sumach) in one of my new schemes. I love the architectural quality of the Rhus which work well when underplanted in a simple monocultural way. One of my favourite designers, Tom Stuart Smith used them to great effect in this garden in Norfolk. I’m imagining my scheme might look as good as this. I’ve clearly got a vivid imagination.