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Words and gardens

Reading and roaming around outside were the activities that defined my early childhood in Papua New Guinea. I loved the gardens we made growing up, and words were another passion: I devoured everything on my parents’ well-stocked shelves, regardless of suitability. My father was headmaster of the local high school, while my mother taught at the school, homeschooled me and my brother, ran the school library and artifact business, and still found time to write local history. History, she maintained, is really just gossip  – and therefore endlessly fascinating.

I share this fascination, so perhaps it’s inevitable that words and history are so important to me. History was well taught at the Quaker school I attended in York, and  – after a degree from Cambridge and a masters from Stirling –  I started my first job as editorial assistant on Longman’s history list. Stints commissioning history books at Macmillan, Thames & Hudson and Oxford University Press followed, and I continue to write, commission and edit for publishers and other clients.

Over the last few years I’ve also strengthened my garden design skills, and earlier this week I received my Diploma in Garden Design from Capel Manor College. I have designed and built a number of gardens while working and studying, and I love the balance of my two careers.

So three years of weekly pilgrimages from south London to Regent’s Park have paid off, and it’s time to launch my portfolio career in earnest!