We managed to catch a few moments with Jinny before this year’s Chelsea Flower Show to ask her a few questions to get her top tips for all garden enthusiasts.
In the week when many budding gardening enthusiasts are inspired by a visit to The Chelsea Flower Show what is your number one top tip in how to get started with a new garden, be it large or small?
“My number one top tip is – think before you act”
Start by writing your own brief. You might be surprised by what matters to you. The brief can encompass all the diversity that your garden needs to give you, from favourite plants to washing lines! It is the beginning of the necessary analysis to make sure you can accommodate everything and also to get a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t before you start. So my No1 tip is- think before you act. The more planning at the front end the better the result. And then you can enjoy spontaneous decisions knowing you’ve got the nuts and bolts sorted out.
London gardens are obviously often limited by space, what are your top tips to make the best of a small area?
Town gardens are fun to design. Small gardens need to work hard all year round. If you need to move around a space a lot it makes sense to elevate the planting- so buy the biggest pots you can find and put the biggest trees in them- much like I did at The Princess Royal. Old olives are sculptural and its good to have the beautiful gnarly trunks at eye level, and then less ground space is taken up and you can squeeze in your table and use the silvery evergreen tree canopy for shade or screening
The garden at The Princess Royal is loved by all our guests, especially now with the sun beginning to make an appearance. Your design makes the best use of the space as well as creating beautiful dappled shade for the tables. What would you suggest are the most reliable plants or trees and to create this sort of shade and what else might you need?
As I’ve said the olives are very useful in the warm and sheltered confines of a town garden. I also have a weakness for vine covered pergolas. Where I live in London there are also lots of Greek Cypriots who have very simple yet effective homemade bamboo pergolas- I swiped the idea and my own south facing garden has a glorious vine scented arbour outside the kitchen. Not smart or designer-y yet absolutely wonderful in summer…and I can make my own dolmades too!
I also like using tree ferns as giant umbrellas. They are happiest in London where the winters are moist and mild. If they dry, they die.