Ulf Nordfjell Sweden
“My main point is that even if naturalistic planting is a trend, you should be very happy having the tradition of horticulture that you do, because I think it’s easier to add ecological principles if you already know the material well. Most landscapers in other countries do not understand plants as well as you do in Britain. I thought the Olympic Park was a brilliant project. It was quite modern but also reflected the historical British interest of introducing plants from the whole world to British gardens.
“Are the British obsessed with romantic gardens? Stop worrying! I think what is really interesting in the UK is the wide range of plants you can work with. As long as you can encourage young gardeners, new directions will occur, because some of those gardeners are in the queue to become the designers of the future. I don’t see anything like the range of interests among designers in the rest of Europe.
“Of course your heritage can be a burden, but I would not be worried because there are so many different groups of professionals in the UK – plants people, university people, lighting architects, water specialists – who are really interested in gardens. That isn’t the case in many other countries, I would say.
“I don’t think any other country exports their designers in the way the UK does.”