The Landscape Man: Matthew Wilson at Chevington

I was about to give up on the Landscape Man series with the remark that if it had achieved nothing else it had at least proved that you are very unlikely to get a good design if you do not employ an experienced designer. It was therefore a relief to find that ‘property developers Clive and Debbie’ were employing a garden designer, Thomas Hoblyn, to help spend £250,000 on a garden for their old rectory in Suffolk. Tom’s training is actually in horticulture, but this need not be a hindrance – and if the individual has design in his or her blood, the knowledge of plants can be useful.
Clive seemed a pretty hard nut but I had to agree with his scepticism about the use of decking in a cold wet climate. Why do it? Tom Hoblyn seemed to be proposing it on the grounds that it had helped him win a Silver Medal at Chelsea in 2009. Part of the design concept was in fact to bring the Chelsea Garden to Chevington and there is a long tradition of re-cycling Chelsea gardens. I sometimes wonder if it should be a requirement for all Chelsea gardens. So was the design a success? Not really – but it was the best garden design in the series so far. The problem is that it was merely a blown up Chelsea garden – slick-ish but conceptually vacant. You can’t just pile in features and expect to have a whole which is more than a collection of parts ‘Rose garden’, ‘Formal lawn’, ‘Hornbeam Hedge’ etc. Clive seemed to think that perfection of execution would do the trick. Its a good thing to have but, like the assembly of features is not enough. One also needs imagination, creativity and taste.
PS a curious feature of this series is that Matthew Wilson has managed to pick up so many of Kevin McLeod’s speech mannreisms. Is Kevin doing a voice over?

3 thoughts on “The Landscape Man: Matthew Wilson at Chevington

  1. a nonimaus

    I think Tom Hoblyn made himself look pretty silly when explaining why he had carried out no formal setting out of the pleached hornbean avenue. He explainined that the there were no straight lines on the building to go off and that he would just eye it up. Completely idiotic and very amateur in my opinion, subsequently resulting in the contractor being blamed for the mistakes of an un-professional designer.

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    I agree re the setting out. But why have an avenue here? To me it seemed an odd addition to a Victorian vicarage. I doubt if it is for parades and wonder if the owner envisages placing a statue of himself at the end of the avenue at a later date. Visitors could be taken to admire his younger, slimmer self.

  3. Anthony faben

    i agree with the two comments previously made. It may also be the fact that the customer came across as being rather aggressive in his demeanor towards Mr Hoblyn. As an apparent professional designer he should have taken a firm stance in planning and constructing the design. From watching the program it is is clear that the design itself did not fit this properyt or customer type in question. Hopefully he would have learnt from this experience


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