By using this service and related content, you agree to the use of cookies for analytics, personalised content and ads.
You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

How the Rich Brothers are trying to make gardening 'cool' again

Country Living UK logo Country Living UK 3 days ago Sarah Barratt

How the Rich Brothers are trying to make gardening 'cool' again © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc How the Rich Brothers are trying to make gardening 'cool' again From Chelsea Flower Show to Chanel, Harry and Dave Rich have created gardens for some considerable names. The duo, who you might recognise from BBC1's Garden Rescue, are working tirelessly to make gardening cool. We spoke to them about what it's like to be the "cool guys" of the gardening world, how it all began and their new book Love Your Plot, Gardens Inspired by Nature.

When did your affinity for gardening start?

We just loved being outdoors and enjoyed design. It was our dad who first pointed Harry in the direction of landscape architecture, which he studied at uni. Then, when he graduated, I decided to study the same thing. After uni, we knew we'd continue gardening and decided to create a show garden at RHS Cardiff - we ended up winning best in show! We have combined our love for design with learning about planting and it's been this amazing journey that's taken us to Chelsea Flower Show - something we never thought we'd do.

How would you define your style?

We've heard people say that 'the simplest thing is the hardest thing to achieve', but our style is all about breaking a design down into its simplest form, then refining the details. Every space is there for a reason and every line has a purpose.

Next, we like to flood that space with plants and trees. We always use nature as our inspiration. For example, if the garden is slightly shady we'll mimic shadier spots and create a natural setting which enhances a sense of calm.

Our gardens are always green, luscious and tranquil. They're spaces where you can sit and reflect and, most importantly, be happy. The two most important factors of our style are simplicity and naturalness. We love the idea that we can reconnect people with nature through enhancing that natural element within a garden.

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

What are the best things about your job?

The complete creativity and freedom. It's important to be able to exercise your creativity, so it's amazing that we get to do that on a daily basis. We begin with a blank sheet of paper and work together to come up with a design that will become a living, breathing garden.

Creating a garden which was not so long ago just a sketch on a piece of paper is so exciting - it feels like we're giving spaces a heart and a sense of atmosphere.

How does it feel to be the cool guys of the gardening world?

We love it! The gardening world can be perceived as being quite boring but we want to rival that view. It's great to be able to show that you can have good fun and still love the outdoors.

We want younger people to realise that gardening isn't 'uncool' - it's actually really fun and gives you the opportunity to get creative because there are so many different angles you can take. We love the idea that we can pave the way for the younger generations to get involved in garden design: we want people to see that it's just as interesting as architecture.

What was the inspiration behind your new book Love Your Plot, Gardens Inspired by Nature?

We wanted to give people the opportunity to really take inspiration from their own local landscape, rather than just show them pictures of what we've done elsewhere.

A garden, in it's own little way, will have the characteristics of a natural habitat so we want people to use the book as a guide. If the space is shady, you can take inspiration from the woodland section. If it's stoney or high and windy, the mountain section comes in really handy.

All gardens have different attributes and conditions so, in this book, we look at how nature can be intertwined with garden design really beautifully. It's a way for us to show people how to break down different environments into designer terms. Ultimately, the book gives people the ability to look at a space, understand it and then take from it what they think they want.

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

How can we encourage more people to get gardening?

Read our book! It's important to show people you can really enhance life and the way you live it through getting outside. Perhaps the word 'gardening' has become a bit old-fashioned – instead call it 'creating an outdoor space'. It doesn't have to be complicated – in fact gardening should be all about keeping things simple and not stressing out about making sure the plants are always flowering. It's great just to have a few shrubs and a couple of plants that are going to give a bit of interest.

How would you advise someone who wanted to achieve a more natural looking garden?

To start off, go and have a long walk and experience the extended landscape - see what lies on the other side of the fence. When you start really seeing your natural surroundings, you'll get an idea of what will work well in your garden as you'll understand what the conditions are like. Creating a natural look is about exploring your landscape and using materials that are found locally to you. For example, using the tone of the stone that's used locally creates a lovely rapport with the extended landscape.

Any big gardening no-nos?

Anything variegated, with a white stripe or edge or dots – that's kind of our no-no because it's been manipulated by man to create more interest in the leaves. But screw that – we like them naturally. We're not fans of variegation. We like simple and green - plain green!

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

The Rich Brothers' 5 top shrubs for adding colour to any garden

If you choose the right things, gardens don't need to be hugely managed. It's easy to feel you need a really high maintenance garden but really you can create an absolutely magical space – one you can even let go a bit wild and unkempt - that will give you just the same feeling.

People also often make the mistake of thinking they can only get colour from flowers, but some shrubs are gorgeously hued and require very little maintenance - plus they'll flower for a long time. Specifically, shrubs like:

1. Viburnum opulus - you'll find this shrub with a lovely ornamental flower in the hedgerows.

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

2. Rambling roses – (rosa rugosa) are a really hardy plant you'll often see in fields scrambling over things. It has a nice scent and lovely little flowers but you don't have to fuss over it too much.

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

3.Cornus (dogwood) are lovely too.

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

4.Honeysuckle is brilliant and easy.

5.Elderflower is a real tough old guy: it tolerates shade and a bit of sun, plus it gives you flowers and scent and you can make cordial.

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

Watch: Princess Diana memorial garden opens at Kensington Palace (by ITN News)

AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon