Linsey Evans - South East England
Where can members get more of your advice?
Feel free to send me an email - you can get my address by visiting my Web site www.linsseysgardens.com. I will shortly be adding an 'Ask Linsey a Question' function to the Web site, so this will be another way of getting advice.
Briefly describe the climate where you garden now (climate zone, state, area) and any other areas where you have gardened in the past.
I garden in the UK, and as yet have not ever gardened anywhere else although I would love to do so.
How long have you been gardening?
What triggered your interest?
Looking after my parents' large garden in Buckinghamshire and being around my family who are all keen gardeners. I've always loved nature and wild flowers since a very small child it was a natural progression into gardening.
What is your specialty, expertise or claim to fame?
I love creating gorgeous herbaceous planting schemes, but my real specialty is creating garden layouts and making the most of any garden whatever its size or shape. I design interesting, unique hard landscaping schemes then dress them with colourful planting with year-round interest.
Linsey's Book Recommendations
by John Brooks - he's brought garden design to the attention of the masses and this book is informative, accessible, and generally the best reference book for designers and amateur gardeners who wish to know about the design process.
Linsey's Favorite Websites
Royal Horticultural Society web site - plant information, gardening information, gardens to visit, gardening news, loads of useful information well presented.
What is your biggest gardening pet peeve? Tell us about it.
People who will not prune shrubs properly. Most people are afraid to give their shrubs a good old 'haircut'. They will not be persuaded that this is what keeps them looking great and flowering. There is nothing more ugly than a shrub that is all leggy and shapeless because it's annual pruning has been too tentative. There are only a few plants that need no or only minimal pruning and most can be cut really hard without suffering damage. I like to use shrubs as a backdrop to loose perennial planting and the shrubs need to be tight and structural - this only happens if they are kept correctly pruned.
How much time per week do you spend gardening?
When the light permits I am in my garden or on my allotment every evening and at least one whole day every weekend. All my leisure time is spent gardening.
How much time per week do you spend working at the business of gardening,such as consulting, reading, writing or talking about your gardening subject?
I am a full time garden designer. I work a full day and often all weekend designing gardens, writing my blog, and doing other marketing activities related to the business.
What do you dislike most about gardening?
There's not much I dislike doing in the garden - I even love digging and weeding. However, I hate the rain and am definitely a fair weather gardener which can be a problem here in the UK! I'm not keen on de-cobwebbing my shed either - I hate spiders, yuk!
What individual has influenced your gardening interest the most? How?
My maternal grandfather - most of his back garden was taken up growing vegetables and the rest was stuffed with colourful plants. I always remember being given the task of clipping the Lavender hedge that ran along the front boundary and the smell was so wonderful. I didn't really appreciate it at the time, but visiting his garden is one of the things I remember vividly from my early youth.
What is your favorite place or activity in the garden?
Hmmm, that's a tough one - can I have two? I love pruning which I find relaxing and satisfying and it makes me stop and appreciate each plant in the garden. I often go out armed with a glass of wine and my secateurs on a summer's evening (I know it sounds dangerous!) and do a bit of pruning. But, I also love being in my greenhouse - it's only small, but I grow a lot of my vegetables and herbs from seed and it's so quiet and relaxing up there, I am in my own world and nothing disturbs me. I always feel relaxed and happy when I've spend a profitable hour or so in the greenhouse.
What is your favorite time in the garden?
My favourite time in the garden is an early Summer evening. I love the heat and the smell of the plants and the quality of the light as the sun just starts going down is absolutely sublime. There are usually plenty of birds, often a hedgehog scuttling about, sometimes some early, slightly confused bats, my cat usually appears, I can't describe how happy it makes me feel.
What is your favorite public or private garden in the world? Why?
I love Trebah in Cornwall. It's a magical, jungly place with loads of huge Trachycarpus fortuneii and giant Gunnera manicata. It ends with a stony beach, its just a perfect spot and so unexpected.
What is your favorite color in the garden?
All shades of purple from pale lilacs right up to the strong dark purple leaves of Cotinus 'Royal Purple'.
If you could grow only one plant, what would it be?
Lavender. I couldn't live without the smell in the garden. There are loads of different flower and leaf colours, plus variations in flower heads. It can be used as hedging, grown in pots, makes a fabulous scented border edge - it's very versatile. It is also great for attracting bees and other insects.
What plant have you tried to grow that has given you the most trouble? Or, what plant would you like to grow and can't, and why?
Lavender! I have one patch that keeps dying off over Winter. I think I've figured it out this year though - I was cutting it back too far and too late in the season.
What is your favorite gardening outfit or costume?
Shorts and T-Shirt on a hot sunny day, but mostly I'm in layers of jumpers and jeans and wellies.
Throw out the rule book. If you want to grow something, but the books say it won't grow in your garden give it a try - what's the worst that can happen. Mostly, I try and grow things that want to grow in my garden, but you can surprise yourself by putting in something that thrives which, technically, should not. So, just see what works for you.
Who is your own favorite gardening personality on TV, radio or in print? Why?
Chris Beardshaw (he broadcasts extensively on British TV) - he's knowledgeable, personable, interesting and cute!
What is a garden myth you hear frequently which you know is untrue?
Gardening is for 'old' people
And, what is the reality?
Not true. Gardening is for everyone, and it's not some mystical, specialised craft, anyone can do it with the application of a bit of common sense and hard work. I love it when children get involved, once you get hooked you're hooked for life.
What group or kind of person do you think would benefit most from the advice you can give on gardening?
Anyone who wants to get the most out of their garden, particularly people with busy lives. Anyone who has an awkward outdoor space - I love a challenge. I'd love to do more gardens for people with special needs - alzheimers and dementia patients in particular can benefit from a garden designed specifically for their needs. Anyone who wants to know what to plant where - I'm particularly keen on shade loving plants. Anyone who wants to combine plants in a harmonious way - I love designing herbaceous borders.
Would you like to participate, or can you recommend someone who you think should? We're always looking for more expert gardeners to tell about their philosophies and give their plant recommendations contact us and we'll get started (it's easy and a great way to promote yourself).