I have been led by my nose all my life and have compulsively missiled my nose at everything in sight from flowers to fabric, car bonnets to curtains, food to flesh and everything in between. It’s an utter mystery to me why all humans don’t do so, as every animal I’ve ever met does. I tried to make scent for an American girl I had a mad crush on when I was 12 years old in 1969, boiling up gardenia and rose petals in sugar water, sealing the concoction in jam jars and burying them in the garden, hoping that by some magical osmosis they would transform into perfume. It took me another few decades to finally produce a professional unisex scent range, called Jack. The first time I ever visited Isabel and Julian’s extraordinary garden it was the scent that overwhelmed and impressed me, almost more than the visual splendours they’d conjured up out of the earth. As I blindly made my way into perfumery without any formal training, Isabel has likewise forged her way, motivated by her singular passion and vision, to become one of the world’s foremost garden designers. Whilst obeying the classical rules of structure and symmetry, her designs are infused with a unique individuality and romantic sensibility which are her signature style.
It’s no surprise that her writing is so sensual and irresistible. Not since reading Peter Susskind’s novel Perfume have I been so gripped as I have by Isabel’s scented garden journey. Richard E. Grant
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