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This Week’s Guest Blogger is Award Winning Designer and Horticulturist Peter Dowle of Leaf Creative who talks about the importance of gardens to him

My love of plants and gardens began when I lived in New Zealand as a child. I remember going into habitats with tree ferns and subtropical rainforests where you could walk into spaces that were green and they smelt different, felt different. It gave me a real connection with nature.

I also remember cycling through giant redwood forests and being completely in awe of these huge trees.

When I studied horticulture at Pershore College, I began to develop an almost spiritual connection with nature, gardens, and gardening.

A Garden of Quiet Contemplation at 2019 RHS Malvern Spring Festival

A garden space or natural space can be such a source of inspiration. The huge intelligence that is behind a flower, when you look at it in detail, or behind a seed, or a leaf, is the same huge intelligence that you see when you gaze into the sky and see stars or the moon. It’s a reminder that this is just part of a much bigger picture.

Garden design for me is all about providing places and spaces within gardens where people can connect with nature and see that far bigger picture.

My appreciation of what comfort a garden can bring individuals came from studying gardens in Japan and being inspired by the tea gardens and Zen gardens where nature and meditation are strongly connected.

Tree Ferns

It’s something I’ve brought into my garden design by creating spaces for quiet repose, using water and rocks, with areas for yoga or meditation where you are just surrounded by nature.

Even in very small spaces, I think there’s always an opportunity for people to explore an area that grounds you in a bigger picture of the universe.

I feel incredibly blessed to be a gardener, to share some design and my passion for plants. I couldn’t think of a better career.


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