Absolutely Fulham, May 2015

English Gardens

5 November 2015

It is a bold garden. I don’t think you can stand by my garden and say, ‘Oh, I kind of like it.’; I think you’ll say, ‘I absolutely loathe it,’ or, ‘I absolutely love it.’” For noted landscape designer Marcus Barnett, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is “not a time for playing safe.” The former Captain in the Scots Guards is renowned for his fearless and highly conceptual growing creations. So after trading his army greens for literally, greener pastures at the tender age of 33, it’s no wonder that the five-time award winner has established himself as one of London’s best garden designers.

Barnett debuted his first risk-taking Chelsea Flower Show installation in 2005. The self-funded submission was a collaborative effort with fellow Inchbald School of Garden Design student Philip Nixon, and featured some of Lord Lichfield’s iconic portrait photographs. The pair have since unveiled plots sponsored by Savills in 2006/07, where Barnett solo designed an entry for Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in 2011. What does being part of the Chelsea Flower Show mean to Barnett? “Immense pride,” he says. “It’s an incredible privilege to be there.” Though the landscape architect considers his Fulham studio client projects “incredibly exciting,” he also notes that “very often, 99% of our work has a specific brief with a budget, geography, location, architecture, and it has to deliver those things.