people have held on to it − quite often when I visit design offices around the world, copies of New Eden are taken down from the shelves.
he magazine’s closure was traumatic: New Eden had been ‘my baby’ and I had relinquished a good job at Country Life. But by this time I had a real baby, and the opportunity to pursue an independent career as a journalist and author. The editor of Wallpaper* invited me to become (freelance) landscape editor at the magazine, and I became a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, where I now write a column under the sobriquet ‘The Medlar’. Gardens Illustrated also became a regular outlet for my work, as did House & Garden and English Garden. In 2004 I was hired as a polemical and controversial columnist at the Garden Design Journal (GDJ), an opportunity I relished until, after a decade’s contributions, I was dismissed via email for being (guess what?) too polemical and controversial (see pages 114 and 133). GDJ is a trade magazine, so its circulation was relatively small − but those columns nevertheless elicited more positive reaction from readers than anything else I have produced.
he closure of New Eden also meant that I was able to concentrate on my first book project, The Garden Book. Thirteen more books were to follow, the most noteworthy being The Arcadian Friends: Inventing the English Landscape Garden (2006), which proposes a political impulse for the creation of eighteenth-century landscape gardens; Avant Gardeners (2007), a celebration and definition of contemporary landscape conceptualism; and The New English Garden (2013), containing a narrative of the naturalistic turn in planting design over the past two decades.
he thrust of my career as an author has been two-pronged. On one hand I am a garden historian specializing in the early eighteenth-century landscape garden and on twentieth-century garden style in England, as well as diverse international topics (the gardens of ancient Korea are a preoccupation currently). On the other I have produced a number of books about trends in international landscape architecture and contemporary naturalistic planting design across Europe and beyond. To me it seems strange that so few of my colleagues in these two worlds − garden history and contemporary landscape criticism − seem willing to cross over into each other’s territory.
Journalistic work is more varied and spontaneous, and provides a useful counterpoint to long-term book projects. It used to be that the you should have been here last week v