Brothers Harry and David Rich have left Wales to start their own landscaping business based in Shoreditch, London. Having won several awards and exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show for three consecutive years, they’re certainly taking the landscaping world by storm. Nicola Laggett caught up with the pair to find out what inspires them – and to steal their ideas to use at home.
How did you get started?
We both did Landscape Architecture at uni. Harry left before I started, so he worked on small gardens to start with back in Wales. It was all exciting tasks like cleaning cobbles, weeding, and mowing lawns! Then in 2013 we were accepted to exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show and it’s all escalated from there.
Any celebrity clients?
We have designed and build a garden for an extremely famous man but we had to sign far too many papers to disclose who it is – sorry!
What’s your favourite job in the garden?
Unfortunately, we don’t have our own garden at the moment in London, but we have a balcony which has a fig tree, cornus shrub, rambling ivy, and some ferns for the shady spots.
When we visit gardens we enjoy appreciating the finer details like the design, the plants that have been used and also just enjoying the space and how it makes us feel.
What’s your favourite plant?
Harry - Persicaria amplexicaulis alba. It has great natural foliage and a really delicate spires of bell shaped flowers.
David - Eupatorium maculatum. Very natural and architectural, with large heads of deep pink flowers.
What’s your least favourite plant?
We don’t dislike any really, but don’t tend to use variegated plants. We prefer them to have a softer and more natural character.
Can you recommend any gardening books?
We like books that are a little more design based.
• Futurescapes – looks at the use of more modern designs set within larger public space
• Piet Oudolf: Designing with Plants – this book breaks down his beautiful planting schemes, and identifies his key plants for achieving different atmospheres.
• Andy Goldsworthy: Wall – well known for his land art, this books is about the stone wall created at Storm King Art Centre in New York along with odd bits of amazing land art.
• Rock the Shack – this is packed full of inspirational architecture, modern designs and beautiful settings within the landscape
What weekend jobs should we be doing in late summer?
• It’s a good time to dead head some of your perennials. It stops them self-seeding early and encourages them to flower for longer. Though we almost like the plants more once they have dropped their petals, leaving their bare architectural form.
• Make sure your garden is getting a good water, especially containers.
• Feed your soil with green manures.
• Just enjoy the garden on the sunny weekends, take photos, and watch the planting develop and change.
What’s hot and what’s not in the gardening world?
We feel that there is a massive wave towards the naturalistic. People really connect with soft, natural, and wild planting schemes. It not only creates a link back to nature but also helps out all the animals and insects that it attracts which is really important these days, especially in cities.
Do you have any clever tips, tricks or hacks to save time for armchair gardeners?
Plant more shrubs! These don’t need as much maintenance, take up more space and help create rooms within a garden. We suggest the following:
• Dogwood – natural character, blossom, stem interest in winter
• Hazel – natural character, large oval leaves, autumn colour
• Hawthorn – natural character, blossom, rough bark
• Myrtle – natural character, fragrant flower, evergreen
• Pittosporum – architectural, fragrant flower, evergreen
Also try using more grasses in your planting schemes. These act as a carpet and help tie all the flowering perennials together.
Why not try:
• Deschampsia flexuosa
• Calamagrostis brachytricha
• Molinia caerulea transparent
To find out more about Rich Landscapes and to discover some of their beautiful designs, visit their website.
Chanel exhibition photos taken by - Rachel Warne, email@example.com
Chelsea 2015 photos taken by - phill williams, firstname.lastname@example.org