I was born and raised in the South of England into a family of keen amateur gardeners. Both my father and my grandmother exhibited roses at the world renowned Chelsea Flower Show.
Although I enjoyed a long career in the hi-tech industry gardening remained a passion. In England, several moves to houses with neglected gardens formed an interest in the design of a garden as well as its maintenance. In addition these gardens introduced me to the joys of growing my own food.
Moving to Los Angeles in the late eighties opened up a new set of opportunities and challenges. I arrived in the midst of a major drought, and was amazed that people were being forced to use low flow toilets and shower heads but were pumping water on their landscapes without reflection.
Also, although I am English, it never made any sense to try and recreate an English garden in this climate, and the excitement of exploring new and beautiful plants that thrive here and will not grow in England was a joy. At first it was hard to put this together, some of the plants I fell for were tropical plants that grow well here but require very high levels of water. I have long had an interest in protecting the environment and I slowly began to learn how to create gardens that do not invade wild areas, respect for the ocean and are lean on water use.
For the first ten years in California I began learning the plants and practices that work here, using my own garden as a test site. The issues of water conservation and respect for the environment have been a prime focus. I have learnt how to emulate the English Cottage Garden style using plants that are water wise and thrive in this climate, with especial reference to the use of native plants. My garden still contains quite a few roses, but I am working hard to mitigate their water usage by concentrating them in one area, and ensuring the soil they grow in retains water well.
Leaving corporate life I decided to make a career in horticulture and went to school at UCLA gaining a Certificate in Gardening and Horticulture. I have also been Certified as a Sustainable Landscape Professional by the Green Gardens Group. In addition I am a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
UCLA Extension - www.uclaextension.edu
Green Gardens Group - www.greengardensgroup.com
APLD - www.apld.com