Historic Roots: New Shoots Seminar

A review of the March 2015 LGN seminar, exploring new design in the historic landscape

Written by Marc Owen

“Being a self-employed maintenance gardener, often working in a very solitary way at improving the domestic gardens of West Kent, I make it my mission to seek out networking opportunities within horticulture. This may involve attending short courses at places such as RHS Wisley or at land-based colleges such as Hadlow College in Kent or Capel Manor: a sort of self-employed, self-imposed, commitment to my own continuing professional development. One piece of advice I would always give to departing students was ‘don’t isolate yourself!’

I was glad to be invited to this year’s LGN’s annual seminar in the stunning grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The scope of horticultural knowledge was wide, ranging from those highly steeped in English garden heritage, to a rather cheeky, almost bawdy look at the historic and contemporary uses of Hornbeam. The seminar covered practical considerations, such as the need to provide new and contemporary designs for clients, whilst also making gardens relatively low maintenance. Often, whilst managing a competitive budget. The final talk was by Tony Kirkham, the country’s premier tree man who spoke with great passion and knowledge about the increasing challenges facing tree preservation.

I stress the importance of meeting new people within our chosen profession. It was great to put faces to names and to once again feel reunited within a community of gardeners.

I was indeed amongst very good company: two notable head gardeners sat either side of me (Penshurst Place and Sissinghurst) and a journalist from the Garden Design Journal sat in front. It is only through events such as LGN’s seminar/networking day that you can meet those high up the horticultural tree. I very much look forward to next year’s event.”

To read more of Marc’s posts, please visit his blog: http://marcsgardens.blogspot.co.uk/