Garden Design Diploma -

Nicola Wakefield

Garden Designer

What was your background before KLC?
I started off working life as a corporate lawyer, specialising in investment funds. However, having grown up in the Herefordshire countryside and spent a happy childhood helping in the garden and spending most of my life outdoors, I realised that instinctively I was being drawn back to gardening. I did the RHS level 2 in Horticulture before working for a local Garden Designer, helping to plant and maintain her gardens.

Why did you decide to study Garden Design?
I spent 18 months working in gardens before committing to the KLC course. During that time I realised that garden design was the career that I had been looking for all these years. It’s creative and challenging; gets you outdoors; connects you to nature; and if I’m lucky I’ll end up creating some beautiful spaces. I can’t think of many other careers like it.

What did you think of the course?
I have loved almost every minute of the course, except perhaps for some hairy moments with my computer crashing in the run up to deadlines.. We have had a fantastic group, full of energy and everyone has bought something different to the group. The teaching has been excellent and we’ve had an interesting and varied selection of projects.

What are your design interests/strengths?
For me the most important part of any design is the story that the garden tells its guests. It’s a combination of the flow through the garden, the views, the structure, and of course the planting – ensuring there is something for every season.

What plant best represents you?
Any plant that can draw people into the garden in the depths of winter is certainly deserving of a place in my gardens.  For this reason, I’ve chosen Hamamelis with its stunning winter flower – it can’t fail to cheer you up on a winter’s day.

Which are your favourite gardens?
Westonbury Mill Gardens in Herefordshire, the High Line in New York and the Inner Temple Gardens, London. The planting at Mill Gardens is stunning and a great example of what can be done using the right plants for the conditions. There is also an element of intrigue to the garden with unusual and quirky features around every corner. The High Line speaks for itself and the herbaceous borders at the Inner Temple are such a wonderful oasis of calm in the midst of the busy city.

Who is your favourite designer?
Sarah Price. She has such a beautiful, natural style and I’ve been inspired by her early success as a designer.

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