Community Gardens

The Millennium Garden, Logny au Perche, Normandy, France

This garden was presented by the Somerset village of Milverton to its French twin to mark the millennium. I was asked to design a garden in the English style which could be built in two stages by work parties from Milverton. I designed a garden with seats for conversation, borders planted in an English style, an interactive sundial to mark the passing of time and rope swags covered in climbing plants as horticultural bunting for what, we hoped, would be a joyful celebration and commemoration. All the funds were raised by the Twinning Association and materials were generously given by villagers and local businesses. Bespoke oak seats and a bird table were made and transported, flat-packed, with the first work party which I was invited to lead. The second party planted up the garden two months later and the garden was officially opened with much jollity.

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The Apple Garden, Robert Street, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde

A community garden for the largest Home Zone project in Scotland under the auspices of Inverclyde Council and focused on a specially commissioned piece of public art. The dramatic and moving bronze sculpture by artist Nina Saunders and entitled 'Future in Hand', arose from a series of workshops conducted in the local secondary schools. It was a great pleasure to work alongside Nina with the students, the local Youth Club and the Robert Street Residents Panel, as well as officials from Inverclyde Council. The Roberts Street community had grown up around the local ship-building industry, now sadly much reduced. This industry and the river on which it is based still has a very strong presence in the community and I wanted to reflect that in my design.The land had previously been orchards supplying fruit for the market in Glasgow, further up the river.

My original design, for the whole area, incorporated an encircling earth bank planted with trees, a paved  meeting place around the sculpture, Otterton seating, a stone maze set into the lawn and aligned to the points of the compass, decorative mixed planting and a small orchard. In order to incorporate a "kick about", originally to be sited elsewhere, my design was condensed into a smaller space while still retaining the original elements. The Apple Garden, Phase 1 of the work, was built under the supervision of Inverclyde Council and opened in early March 2006. Phase 2 of the work happened subsequently.

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The Tuckwell Commemorative Garden, Kings School, Taunton

Commissioned by the Old Boys to mark the 125th anniversery of the school's foundation as a Woodard school, this garden recalls the teaching garden of a previous school set up on the site by Rev. William Tuckwell in the 1860s. It contains a central pond and large beds, edged with lavender, filled with a range of ornamental plants drawn from different plant families, thereby continuing the teaching element of the garden. Hedged with privet, it will normally be used by students and staff for relaxation, study and quiet conversations but the large deck allows for performances and social occasions. The garden was opened on Speech Day , July 2006.

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