Great British Gardeners

Britain is not just about gardens, it's also about the gardeners that make them famous. Household names in the world of horticulture here in Britain include Gertrude Jekyll, William Robinson, William Kent and Capability Brown to name just a few. But there are also many young gardeners emerging who promise to leave legacies just as great as their forebears in terms of their gardening prowess and the influence they have on gardening fashions today.

Tom Coward (left) is head gardener at Gravetye Manor in West Sussex. He joined the team there when the hotel was sold in 2010 and has taken over one of the most famous gardens in Britain - former home of William Robinson from 1885 until his death in 1935. Prior to taking over the legendary Arts & Crafts garden at Gravetye, he worked with Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter - another much-loved British garden and former home of Christopher Lloyd. There's a lot of work in progress in the garden at Gravetye and the garden looks particularly glorious in late spring when all the alliums are in flower. Drop in for lunch or tea at the hotel and you will be able to enjoy this beautiful garden for yourself.

John Brookes MBE
Gertrude Jekyll is probably the best-known British gardener of all - often mistakenly credited as the person who conceived the herbaceous border, her real passion was bold swathes of planting in solid blocks of colour. She was a talented painter and could see the impact that this type of planting would have on a garden. Surviving examples of her work can be seen at Vann in Surrey, where she created a water garden and at another well-known garden hotel, Tylney Manor at Rotherfield in Hampshire, where she supplied the plans and planting lists for another great water garden; the Manor House at Upton Grey, where current owners have restored the garden she designed; Hestercombe, Somerset and Goddards, Surrey.

John Brookes (right) is an internationally-renowned garden designer and landscaper, who has worked all over the world. His own garden is Denmans in West Sussex, but he is also well known for his English garden in the Chicago Botanical Garden, the books he has written on garden design and the contribution he has made to garden design in the last two decades. John is constantly travelling to lecture overseas and is also working with me on a project in Rajasthan, which I'll feature on the blog as it progresses.


Piet Oudolf - best known for his prairie-style planting, seen at Pensthorpe Millennium Garden,


Harold Peto - his own garden at Iford Manor in Wiltshire and his designs at Heale House, Buscot Park etc.


William Robinson - his own garden at Gravetye Manor, where Tom Coward is now head gardener.


Tom Stuart-Smith - redesigned the walled garden at Spencers, Essex



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