Every month, we are highlighting “Our Garden Tour Stars” — landscape architects, florists, and interior designers who have participated at our annual Garden Tour and Showcase Estate at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. We want to let you know about these very talented designers, their inspirations, and their creations.
This month, we are featuring internationally renowned British landscape designer Christine London. She has designed many spectacular gardens that have been on Garden Tour over the past 20 years. We are so fortunate to have had Christine as a participant!
We asked her these five questions:
1. What garden changed your life or made an impact on you?
The most impactful garden for me is one woven into personal experience over many visits, across many years. It was at Hestercombe gardens in Somerset that I walked and debated with my father over the work of Lutyens and the work of Jekyll. From childhood into adulthood I walked the paths, the rills, the pergola, the l’orangerie and debated the choices made by each of these talented designers.
In this manner, my understanding of the design decisions deepened while the experience of the beauty of the garden was always new, fresh and uplifting. Because this was over many years, the recognition of a garden as a measure of time became instilled. Especially in today’s world the knowledge that gardens live across generations, through wars, prosperity and pandemics could not be more resonant and reassuring.
2. Who is your favorite landscape designer (living or not living) and why?
Piet Oudolf for his sensual painterly compositions. The harmony and fluidity of his plantings belies the deep horticultural knowledge and disciplined creativity required. Honed over years of growing and tending in his nurseries, he is a master.
Fernando Caruncho for distilled spaces that connect us to our place in nature.
3. Which historical garden in the world is your favorite and why?
The Tuileries Gardens in Paris
St. James Park in London
Central Park in New York
I’m using the terminology broadly as the first two were gardens born in the privilege of Royal Commissions that became public parks as our societies developed and democratized.
Central Park because it was conceived as the city’s garden and today is a respite for everyone.
They all stand as a statement that gardens are easy to share; they can be multi-purpose and enriching, experienced collectively or individually as we choose since we are all part of nature.
4. Can you share photos of your garden and/or projects you have worked on?
With pleasure. Here are some examples of different design aesthetics. The common thread being that each relates to the land, the architecture and family life.
This is a property set in Northern California abutting redwoods and oak forest. It was an equestrian property, so scale and the intertwining of the needs of the horses and the needs of the family were precedent.
The house and gardens are completely seamless on a hillside Tudor estate.
This property exemplifies a warm contemporary style while California’s climate affords an indoor outdoor spatial relationship that can be enjoyed year-round.
Being on holiday at home in a completely luxurious resort environment is the theme of this garden.
5. What is the book that inspires you the most?
Oriana Fallaci’s Interviews with History because of her courage. She speaks frankly and unflinchingly with some of the most formidable people in history.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s The Caged Virgin. Also because of her courage. She has looked into the eyes of the tiger and lived to tell the story.
Christine London Ltd.
Tel: (310) 273-5660