An Interview with Pro Gardens Ltd - Show Garden Finalist

This year, Pro Gardens Ltd have reached the finals of the Show Garden competition at BBC Gardeners’ World. We caught up with them to find out what is going to happen on the day, what we can expect to see from them, and a bit more about their gardening style. Check out our interview:

Our Interview with Pro Gardens Ltd

1. You’re in the finals of the Show Garden competition at BBC Gardeners’ World Live this year. Can you give us an insight into what we might expect to see from you on the day?

We wanted to create something that both adults and children could enjoy separately and together, in both a physical sense and whilst creating a shared deep connection.

Everyone has a memory of playing in a garden as a child, the adventures and stories you created within your imagination. When you see children doing the same thing, you are transported back to that time in your childhood, whilst they create their own future memories.

The shared but separate connection to the garden was a concept we really wanted to explore.

2. Is there a theme you have to go by for the finals, or is it left to the designer?

There were certain set parameters for us to work within but we were predominantly allowed to come up with our own brief.

Last year’s garden was an extremely contemporary design - lots of hard, straight edges, softened by a predominate grass planting scheme. This year, it’s the complete opposite - naturalistic, mature, nostalgic and warming.

I spent a lot of time in my grandfather’s garden. I wanted to recreate that feeling for the public, and for myself.

3. What developed your passion for garden design? Has it always been an interest/hobby?

I have always had a love of nature. Growing up in Dorset, I spent a lot of time exploring the coastline and countryside, which in turn inspires a lot of my work.

I began studying Fine Art at Bournemouth Arts Institute, where I found myself predominantly painting landscapes and plants. I then decided to study horticulture and took my RHS qualification at Kingston Maurward, to further my learning and knowledge.

I fell in love with creating spaces for others to enjoy, space that opens and frees your mind. I believe that within a good garden you can have peace, excitement and inspiration, and you can have all of that at the same time.

Garden design is about making you think, or not think at all.

4. Would you say that you have an underlying style of design? Where does your influence come from?

I have always been heavily influenced by the coast and rugged terrain. I love the combination of naturalistic planting against the hard lines of modern contemporary landscaping.

From early on, I was influenced by Piet Oudolf's planting design and his general ethos towards plants and garden design. His quote, ‘The idea is not to copy nature, but to give a feeling of nature’, is something I regularly consider whilst drawing.

5. It’s great to see companies partner with charities. Why did you choose CLIC Sargent?

When considering partners for this year’s BBC Gardeners' World Live show, our first thought was CLIC Sargent. Close associates of Pro Gardens Ltd have been supplied with incredible support from CLIC Sargent, and the work the charity does daily is invaluable for thousands of families and children.

A garden can be a wonderful place for families to spend time together, enjoy nature and relax. And our show garden looks to emphasise that.

6. BBC Gardeners’ World Live isn’t the first competition Pro Gardens has entered for show gardens. How did you do in previous competitions and how does this year’s competition compare?

We started producing show gardens in 2015, our first being for the Blenheim Flower Show. We received a silver gilt for our first garden, which we were incredibly proud of.

In 2016, we exhibited at RHS Malvern and the challenge was immense. We produced a contemporary design influenced by the rejuvenation of the High Line in Manhattan. We earned a silver medal from the RHS, which is a huge achievement for us.

We then went on to exhibit at Blenheim Palace once again, where we received our first gold medal, along with ‘Best in Show’, capping off a landmark year for us.

We hope to continue that success at BBC Gardeners' World Live in 2017!

7. Are show gardens and competitions a way forward for you at Pro Gardens? What do you enjoy most about creating them?

Show gardens allow us to work to our own set brief. This freedom allows us to push the boundaries and concepts that may be slightly more limited on a residential project. They are also a great challenge and one we relish and look forward to year after year.

We are already looking forward to 2018 and the opportunities we can work towards, and I am already dreaming up concepts and ideas for future shows.

8. There must be a lot of preparation required. How are you feeling, close to the competition date?

The garden has been almost a year in the making, from first conceptual designs up to sourcing materials and detailing.

I’m extremely excited about starting the build and cannot wait to get started on site. We are counting down the days till the build starts.


We'd like to thank Pro Gardens for their time and wish them good luck in the competition. If you are interested in garden design, be sure to make Shedstore your first port of call for all of your garden's requirements.