Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Young Chelsea Designer: Sarah Price

Before I flood this blog of all things Chelsea and UK horticulture, I want to shed some light on a young lady I had the pleasure of meeting at tonight's NHS lecture. While she wasn't at Chelsea this year, she's sort of a veteran with two previous gardens under her belt at the show and numerous other noteworthy projects.

Sarah Price is a landscape designer from the UK that's very quickly rising in the ranks, and according to fellow garden writer, Marty Wingate, she's only 29 y/o. We might be wrong, but she's definitely a youngin'!.

She came to speak about her design process and showcase some of the incredible work. Her list of accomplishments and high profile projects is unbelievable: She's designed 2 gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show, has won a gold medal at the Hampton Court Flower Show (another show I MUST see when I return to the UK!) and one of her current projects entails being a plant consultant for the landscaping being installed for the 2012 Olympic Games in London!

A design for the Chelsea Flower Show.

One of my missions being able to come to the Chelsea Flower Show this year was to observe potential up and coming gardeners. Sarah seems to define what I began to observe and she's just one of many who could lead and continue on a grand tradition that's just so much more recognized and respected over there in England.

The first garden she designed. Not too shabby, eh?

Sarah struck me as a humble, fairly composed young lady with a very strong art backround that she uses to great effect in her design and even in her random doodles, which she wasn't afraid to share even though she claims that they weren't very good, were actually very constructive and quite useful and elegantly done. Her emphasis on "the process" was great to see. Often young designers, or even seasoned professionals always what the high impact image of a "before and after", but seeing preliminary sketches and drafts of her work were actually very interesting.

Getting to chat with her afterwards, I think I might have overdone it with the enthusiasm as I was just so pleased to meet and see someone my age be so successful, talented, yet she also possessed a shyness and apprehensiveness that makes her a real 20-something year old who has a lot of room to develop and grow.

Some may argue, "too much too soon", but if you've got the experience, the drive, the talent and the work ethnic to pull off a veteran project, why not?! Her style is quite natural and she uses the open meadow effect with mass plantings intermixed with various forms and textures and there's a light and airy quality to it that's pleasing to the eye. She uses plants that are relatively common, but again, to great effect.

I wish her luck as they continue building the London 2012 site and I hope she visits the NW again so she can visit the mountains and natural areas here, visit more gardens and meet more of her fellow next generation gardeners!