Garden Design Diploma -

Felicity O'Rourke

Garden Designer

What was your background before KLC?
With a BSc Honours Degree in Biochemistry at Bristol University, I joined Accenture as a Management Consultant for a couple of years. My real passion at that time was flying and I pursued a career as a Commercial Airline Pilot, after being awarded training sponsorship by Aer Lingus. I flew Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s with easyJet for many years which was exciting and challenging but failed to offer me a creative outlet.

After having my 3 children, I yearned to be more creative and took to gardening. In a period of poor health a few years ago, my garden provided me with a therapeutic way to emerge from this difficult time. It has rekindled my love of nature and my creative spirit.

I feel privileged to have had this opportunity to reconnect with the living natural world and I want to be able to give others the same opportunity, by designing gardens and landscapes which resonate with them on an emotional level.

What are your plans for the future?
I would love to join a design studio where I can learn from like-minded experienced professionals and build up industry experience.

Tell us about your experience with the course
I have thoroughly enjoyed the course. We have met all the leading designers and industry influencers across the spectrum of the lectures and made some brilliant contacts. The tutors have been so encouraging and supportive and without their belief in my ideas, I wouldn't have achieved all that I have. We have really bonded as a class and I have made some wonderful friends who share the same knowledge and passion which is really very special.

What are your design interests/strengths?
I love the process of finding a compelling central concept and weaving it into all elements of the design. The way that planting can evoke emotion and feeling fascinates me too, and so I'm keen to develop my plant combinations further with this in mind. Regarding my strengths, I think my friends would say I am enthusiastic and good at communicating a design with visuals, thinking of every part of it down to the finest detail.

What space inspires you?
Having travelled extensively and having experienced different landscapes and cityscapes first-hand, I have noticed that it is in mountain spaces that I have felt most creatively inspired.

Who is your favourite designer?
For me, it is not who is designing, but how each design resonates with me in its own right. I greatly admire the work by Tom Stuart-Smith and the fascinating historical research behind all his designs. After learning about William Robinson in our historical project, I admire his mindset which was so ahead of his time in terms of thinking of renewable energy, sustainability and his mantra of 'Right plant, right place' which is relevant, more than ever in this day and age.

Where to from here?
I am hoping to take one of my show garden designs to RHS Hampton Court. The real challenge currently is trying to secure sponsorship!

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