Bridge Magazine, June 2005

English gardens.

7 July 2010

The Royal Horticultural Society has kept abreast of the current vogue for garden design and introduced the small garden category to appeal to home owners and up and coming designers.

Two designers who have attracted significant attention this year are Marcus Barnett and Philip Nixon. Collaborating for the first time, they entered the Chic Garden category. The concept behind their garden is based on the idea of challenging the accepted uses of a garden by transforming it into a place in which to show works of art. This in itself is not completely ground breaking, as gardens have traditionally been a place to display sculpture. What is unusual, though, is the inclusion of photography: the garden has the dual purpose of being an outdoor space and a gallery.

The concept of photography is not exclusive to the celluloid images themselves but continues throughout the design with the subtle use of framing and reflection. Contrast is as key to their design as it is in photography. The plants have been carefully chosen to reflect the idea of contrast with the use of irises with dark rich purple hues alongside crisp, white, fresh-looking white cultivars. "The choice of plants was difficult as we had to balance the need for the perennials to look their best in May but also ensure they linked in with the concept and not just be there as padding for the design," says Philip. "We also had to ensure we made a good impact in what is a small space".