Daily Telegraph, March 2015

English gardens.

15 November 2015

Chelsea Flower Show is less than three months away, but Marcus Barnett is looking unflustered – as you would expect of a former Army officer. His studio, in a converted gasworks off New King’s Road in London, reflects this composure: smart and uncluttered, except for a remarkable double avenue of black Anglepoise lamps running the full length of two long tables. Were they on special offer? He laughs. “No, I just don’t like overhead lighting.”

I first met Marcus in 2004 when he was a student at the Inchbald School of Garden Design in Pimlico. It might seem an unusual place for a captain in the Scots Guards to end up – “my Army friends thought it was very amusing; they still find my career very amusing” – but in fact, he says, there is something of a link.

“In the Army, you have to be able to read and understand the land – to navigate by cloud and moonlight, to know where the hidden ‘dead ground’ is and how dips make things appear closer. I was good at all that – I have always been very observant and aware of landscape.”