Fulham Residents Journal, May 2015

English Gardens

5 November 2015

As you saunter from garden to garden, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will enliven your sight and senses, swallowing you in its overwhelming opulence of colour, shape and texture. This year’s show will be as exciting as ever, as visitors will see distinctive art influences. With a wide-ranging background, Fulham-based Marcus Barnett is an exciting personality in landscape design and is working alongside The Telegraph at the show.

Marcus served in the Scots Guards for seven years and I was eager to find out if there are any crossovers between the two subjects. ‘Understanding landscape from a topographical point of view; there’s a military discipline with the attention to detail, planning and process,’ he says. Previous experience of five shows has given him a great understanding of the process that goes into designing a garden for such a prestigious event. ‘Having designed for RHS Chelsea Flower Show before, you realise how short the timescale is and how little margin for error there is. You have to watch out for things such as what to do when plants you depend on fail to flourish,’ he explains.

Marcus has worked with an abstract aesthetic for the garden, inspired by the bold De Stijl movement pioneered in the Netherlands circa 1920, referencing illustrious artists like Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg. ‘I admire the movement, its principles and its boldness. It arose from the darkest days of the World War One in stark contrast to the dreary climate that gripped Europe at the time. To arrive at such modern, striking and colourful images and paintings was hugely brave. I like that,’ he reveals. Marcus is courageous to take such a creative risk and is aware of the varied feedback it may provoke. ‘It is not for everyone and may instil a “marmite” judgement.’ In other words, you either love it or you hate it.