Official Press Release prior to the 2018 Royal Ascot Garden Show:
Tom Hill, a young Dorset gardener has been selected to create one of six show gardens at a new prestigious garden show to be held in Ascot, April 2018.
After leaving school at 17, Tom launched his own garden design business just three years later and, self-taught, has acquired a range of landscaping skills including stonework. “I guess I'm the wild card," says Tom. “I enjoyed school but I like to approach and learn things in my own way... I prefer to teach myself and research information from a myriad of sources, predominantly from the internet".
Each time Tom undertakes a new project, building and managing it entirely on his own, he sets himself a task of learning a new skill. “I specialise in stone but I remember years ago planning in a natural stone wall specifically because I knew it would provide me with the opportunity to learn how to build one.”
Tom also paints his designs for clients in 3D watercolour. “I've always had a good eye for drawing throughout school and it's great to be able to give clients a 3D visualisation of my proposed work.”
While Tom is not a conformist, there's no doubt about his ability and attention to detail in everything he does.
His experience includes four show gardens at the Duchy of Cornwall development at Poundbury, Dorchester, for Morrish Builders. The show gardens were visited by HRH Prince of Wales and were well received and commended. Like the other designers selected for The Ascot Spring Garden Show (April 13-15), Tom's garden will be themed around 'Town and Country'.
“I'm extremely honoured to take part, but the brief was challenging for me as it's so broad, a blank canvas with no physical references," says Tom. "Most of my clients can be specific in their requirements for their gardens which gives me a direction." Tom has produced what he believes to be “a modern garden that is bold in form and stylish with a sense of theatre”.
“I wanted to create an intimate space, that was aesthetically pleasing with a strong dynamic visual, but ultimately a usable, functional garden. I was keen for it to be like my paintings... something you can step into and enjoy.”
Tom's garden is inspired by an eclectic mix of design references but mostly he has taken an intuitive approach not led by specific styles but a modern vernacular, exploiting the constraints and opportunities on the 9x9m show garden plot.
Two freestanding geometric columns create the sense of entrance and arrival, while paving leads to a covered dining area and sculptural inverted pyramid planter creates a focus.
Tom has designed all the garden features, including the furniture, influenced by geometric forms and sourcing local craftsmen to build each piece.
“The planting scheme was initially delicate and soft to balance out the strong geometric shapes but as this didn't stand up I felt I had to harmonise and balance the architectural and hard landscaping features with plants with strong shape and form. The result was a mixture of Mediterranean plants and a few feature plants such as Dasylirion and Agave — tender plants with a strong spiky architectural look.”