Diploma in Garden Design -

Jane Ashley

Garden Designer

What was your background before KLC? 
Prior to joining KLC, I worked at the BBC where I was a journalist and documentary producer in BBC News, making programmes mainly for Radio 4. Before that I was an economist and my jobs included working at the Treasury. I studied economics at King’s College, Cambridge University, followed by postgraduate study at the University of Massachusetts in the USA and then the London School of Economics.

Why did you decide to study Garden Design?
I get a thrill from the beauty of plants and the natural world, as well as from inspiring architecture. I simply love gardens and always have. As a child I used to go round the garden with my wonderful mother, reciting the names of her many delightful varieties of rose. (My favourite was ‘Superstar’.)

For many years I have longed to have more time to appreciate plants and be creative with them. After an enjoyable career at the BBC working in both radio and television, I finally decided to leave my job there and make the leap into garden design. And what a leap it was!

What did you think of the course?
This very intensive course has been challenging and hugely stimulating, tapping my creative impulses in a new way (and probably forging thousands of new neural connections deep in my brain!). I have learnt a tremendous amount across a wide range of disciplines which are essential to becoming an excellent garden designer. And I have been amazed at how much is packed into this one year course.

What are your design interests/strengths? 
I have always been interested in and knowledgeable about plants, but I now have a far more refined appreciation of plant combinations, the role of structure in good planting design and spatial awareness. I am strong in the technical skills needed for garden design and have enjoyed mastering Vectorworks. It still feels a little magical when I turn my CAD drawings into 3D and am able to see that instant rough visual representation of my ideas.

I am keen to work across a range of garden types and styles, and am I particularly drawn to schemes with naturalistic planting and lots of perennials and grasses.

Which are your favourite gardens?
Stourhead (the romantic landscape views, ”a living work of art”,) Kew (the wonderful trees, my first appreciation of the incredible Liquidambar styraciflua) Nymans (the bold herbaceous planting, dreamy stonework and quirky topiary)

Who is your favourite designer?
Piet Oudolf – the magic of his plantings enticed me into garden design.

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