I have in the course of my working life written on various aspects of garden design, but it was only in 2015 that the idea occurred to me to write something more personal.
A family dinner party was held that year to celebrate my brother Michael’s 90th birthday. After a convivial evening with him, his wife Jill, their two daughters and son and assorted grandchildren, I began (rather uncharacteristically) to reflect on my own career and how I have arrived at where I am now. After much further thought, this book is the result. I would like to thank Michael firstly for that dinner at which the seed was planted in my mind – and secondly for simply being my brother.
I hope this book will complement Barbara Simms’s magnificent presentation of my work in John Brookes: Garden and Landscape Designer, published by Conran Octopus in 2007. I am everlastingly grateful to Barbara for her thorough and meticulous record. My own book serves a very different purpose: it is a personal reflection on how my thinking about garden design, and design generally, has developed. I hope that this reflective account of a life will help and perhaps encourage those who are just starting out or finding their way now. And of course I am also able to talk here about some of the work I have done since Barbara’s book was published.
I would particularly like to thank both Charlotte Weychan and Peter Gillespie for being such a support. Peter worked for me for a time and knows all about my British jobs. Charlotte has been a friend and guide in India, and has helped with typing the manuscript.
I would also like to thank Gwendolyn (Wendy) van Paasschen in the States for her generous friendship and her su ppor t i n he l p i ng me fi n i s h t h i s book . And Amanda B rooke s and Paul Forty for their encouragement and insight.
There are many, many more friends in the US whom I could (and should) mention. One of the nice things about my job is that clients often become good friends, and in this category I would especially like to thank George Barber for being the first client to invite me to work with him in the US.
Recently I have acquired a mass of new friends in northern Russia, and I would particularly like to thank Katya Petrova not only for accompanying me everywhere, but also for being a splendid interpreter and friend as well. I would be lost without her, as I do not speak a word of Russian!
In South America, both Jose Casares and Martina Barzi have been wonderfully supportive for the ten or more years that I have been involved with Pampa Infinita – their design school in Buenos Aires – and they have also been very helpful with my design work in Patagonia. Thanks also to Gracie Ullmann. And also to Barbara Said for introducing me to lovely Chile.
My best wishes and thanks to my friends in Japan, where I have worked and lectured, and in Australia and Canada too.
I was very fortunate at various stages to work for the late Brenda Colvin and Dame Sylvia Crowe, by whom I was much influenced; Theo Crosby and Monica Pidgeon, who taught me something of architecture; and Jacqueline Thwaites (now Jacqueline Duncan), the principal of the Inchbald School of Design, who allowed me to run off to Iran and teach there. All are more fully mentioned in the course of my story.
I am grateful to have known them all.
The Publishers have made every effort to contact holders of copyright works. Any copyright holders we have been unable to reach are invited to contact the Publishers so that a full acknowledgment may be given in subsequent editions. For permission to reproduce the images below, the Publishers would like to thank the following:
Alamy Stock Photo: 20 top left (Tracey Whitefoot),
65 bottom (Arcaid Images), 69 top (B.O'Kane), 69 bottom (Bildarchiv Monheim GmbH), 70 bottom right (Image Broker) © Burle Marx Landscape Design Studio: 73 top Scott Byron: 125–126 © Steve Cadman, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike v2.0: 25
Peter Gillespie: 1, 242, 243–245 © John Hitchens, all rights reserved, DACS 2017: 259 Gwendolyn van Paasschen: 9–12, 16, 23, 45, 62, 65, 67,
107, 108, 110, 112, 114, 117, 119, 130–1, 133, 134–141, 143, 233–236, 239, 240–1, 250, 258, 263–271, 273 The Piers Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney (photo
Alistair Peebles)/© Angela Verren Taunt. All rights reserved. DACS 2017: 64 top RIBApix: 71, 72 Shutterstock: 18 © Angela Verren Taunt. All rights reserved. DACS 2017: 62 © David Wilders: 17 All other photographs and artwork courtesy of John
Brookes and his clients.
8 A Landscape Legacy