Katie's latest project
This month I designed a garden for a Norwegian TV show ‘Hagetid’ which in English translates to ‘Garden Time’ It’s a very similar concept to ‘Love your Garden’ which I work on in the UK.
Located on the tiny island of Bjoroy in Bergen it was the most spectacularly located garden I had ever worked on. On first visit to the garden I left feeling really nervous, my thoughts went like this ‘‘Don’t mess this up!!! Look at the view!! Don’t mess this up!! I can’t believe I get to design this, arggghhh what if I mess this up?!’’ etc etc…. People often think that creative minds are always full of ideas, and maybe some are, but not me, I need a process in order to get things flowing and it usually starts with the landscape.
Having worked in Yorkshire for the last 8yrs as a garden designer the landscape around me is really what keeps my creative mind nourished - so I did what I do at home, I looked at what made the landscape in Bergen unique and used this information to lead my design. First up was the rocks!
The property I was designing a garden for had been built on the side of a mountain and the rocks that had not been blown up to make room for the house were the boundaries of the garden. No landscaping I did could complete with such mighty a presence, so……. I decided to copy them. I designed raised beds using the shapes and angles of the boulders at the edges of the garden as a guide, once clad in silvered accoya and planted they gave the illusion of the landscape reaching up and morphing into the garden. The paving was also grey like the local stone, however this was laid in a contemporary manner at an angle, to the led the eye out onto the landscape, this denoted the more formal boundary within the space.
I also planted trees, from every view in the garden you could see forest and yet the garden didn’t have a single tree. Bringing in two Betula which grows everywhere in Norway instantly made the space relate to its surroundings as well as giving a feeling of shelter to what was an exposed site.
My planting was very simple, using lots of evergreens, white flowers and the odd bit of blue, I picked up on the shape of the surrounding pine trees with short blue delphiniums and used lots of grasses to soften and blend the scheme.
A carpenter on the show made the most incredible outdoor kitchen to my specification too, which we clad in black timber so it looked like the wooden houses that were so prevalent in the area. He also built a low wooden bench that we shaped around the boundary rocks, covered in reindeer skins and cushions this was the most snuggly place to take in the view around the fire pit.
After five days, three of which we worked from 9am till 11.45pm! (It never gets dark!) it was finished and I was thrilled. The team in Norway are so dedicated to making beautiful spaces full of care and detail, I just love working alongside them. Their positivity shone through in the end result and the owners were over the moon!!
So... if you’re thinking about redesigning your space it’s okay to panic and feel a little intimated but just stop and look around – when you stand still long enough to notice you will see that inspiration is everywhere!