Acting as designer and horticultural adviser I helped develop a new garden marking the 250th anniversary of Peter Collinson’s death. The anniversary is 11 August 2018.
Collinson lived at Ridgeway House in the 18th century, the original site of what is now Mill Hill School. At that time it was said that no other garden in all of Europe had so many rare and exotic plants.
A successful merchant and Quaker, Collinson combined his international textile business with his passions for plants. He was at the forefront of plant collection and science. As a member of the Royal Society he befriended Carl Linnaeus, Benjamin Franklin, John Bartram, Lancelot Brown and Sir Hans Sloane.
Collaborating with a plant historian from Painshill Park, I designed plans for the new garden and advised on developing a strategy for creating a botanical collection. An important part of my remit was to incorporate Collinson introductions into the new scheme. As well as being botanically correct, it had to also be aesthetically pleasing, with good autumn colour and good use of form and texture.
Preparations are underway with planting scheduled for spring 2018.