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I strongly believe that this is one of the biggest problems with the UK landscape industry. The marrying of a landscaper and a garden designer (often literally with husband and wife teams across the UK) is the ideal for potential clients. The garden design course in Falmouth has virtually no horticultural remit at all and this is true of other HE establishments also - therefore for the more recent out take it is vital for the garden designer to link in with a landscaper or plantsman.

I feel the other culprits are the organisations / quangos and businesses out there who tend to avoid the broader spectrum, as is true of much of the UK science based industries, (including nature conservation).This is the result of policies of the UK higher education system which makes its students focus in on one tiny element. When transported into the wider world this only creates a blinkered approach in all sectors.

this may or may not be the best place on this site for my questionso my appologies if not im rather new to this site. im in the proces of being made redundent and looking at this as an oppertunity to retrain to do something more me. i am really taken with the idea of a course in landscape\garden designe but am really unsure if there is any work out there once I've finished, I'm in the cambridge\newmarket area if that has any bearing can anyone give me some advice

Selling plants to well over a thousand Designers and Landscapers over the last 30 years, I can only say as I have seen.

Designers come in, with very fixed plant lists, mostly Herbaceous. Their plant knowledge is normally limited to the plants on their lists, and appear happy to trawl, several and many Nurseries to find the exact plant. So frilly, Herbaceous Gardens with no structure.

Landscapers usually come in with a fixed budget, looking for a certain quantity of plants to fit their budget, and buy mostly Shrubs. So a Shrub garden, with no Herbaceous colour.

What I like are those that can cross over and give their clients both a structured and colourful garden. Those Designers and Landscapers appear to us to be the ones doing the top end gardens.

Perhaps more importantly, it is those with real work experience, that have clients come to them or referred to them due to their high standards and knowledge.

From experience, I would suggest only 30-40% of both Designers and Landscapers have good, rounded plant knowledge, and that could be their downfall.

An interesting perspective...I am a gardener and designer. My first interest is in horticulture - design came later when I decided to build a show garden in Cardiff purely for business purposes. I think show gardens have a place in design as, for me anyway, it's an opportunity to showcase my ideas and skills, and etwork with other designes and landscapers you would not meet in the normal course of work. So far I've won silver, silver gilt and 'Best in Show' at Cardiff which has led to a number of commissions. I build show gardens that potential clients could actually have in their own space...I see no point in showing something that is unattainable, unworkable or unaffordable - that's not my style and I don't intend to change it. I would probably be too boring for Chelsea or any of the other big RHS shows.

I take pride in the fact that I can advise clients properly on planting schemes and plant care. Right plant, right place, is my philosophy.

I don't see myself as 'special' - I rely on my landscaper and he relies on me to get it right. We respect each other's skills. Our clients are the priority and we work together to achieve the client's wishes and finish to a very high standard.

Has design changed in the last two years? That's a difficult one to answer because design is constantly changing - like fashion I suppose. Although I don't subscribe to what's 'on trend' unless it's workable.

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