My journey to garden design might seem winding, but looking back, it now seems to me that it was inevitable. As with many garden lovers there is the enduring memory of Grandma’s garden, my Mother’s love of gardening and my own love of the outdoors and a deepening of this passion through having an allotment.
I grew up in a remote village in Kazakhstan, far away from colour televisions and other new technologies of the 1970s and ’80s. Surrounded by mountains and steppes, my earliest memory of nature is being on my own listening to the sound of a stream and being surrounded by small yellow flowers that grew on the banks. I would often find myself climbing trees and hiding under the enormous leaves in my Grandmother’s garden, and immersing myself in the surrounding countryside.
Moving to Germany was a big shock for my nine-year-old self, there were toys that I’d never seen before, more food than I’d believed could exist, and forests, meadows and hills, each in a luscious new shade of green. The hills were covered in heather, the meadows with dandelions and the lakes brought a stillness with a different kind of vastness to the skies of the steppes.
All too soon it was time to make a sensible decision about my future, and I became a nurse, working in Germany, Switzerland and England. My love of nature never went away, and surrounded by the gardens of England, I realised that I couldn’t hide from my passion any longer.
I graduated (with merit) from the respected Inchbald School of Design and became a garden designer.
I like gardens that fit into their surroundings and which, no matter how big or small, provide an almost sacred space for people to withdraw from everyday life and renew themselves — just as I did all those years ago surrounded by the yellow flowers of Kazakhstan.
Today, I am the mother of two wonderful girls and the wife of a supportive husband.