Jonny Bruce

A pas­sion­ate plants­man, Jonny works at renowned Dutch nurs­ery and gar­den De Hessen­hof. He also ed­its an in­de­pen­dent pub­li­ca­tion look­ing at art and hor­ti­cul­ture

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Gardening Talent -

POR­TRAIT AN­DREW MONTGOMERY First plant love The bearded irises that still fill my mother’s small gar­den in Ox­ford made a big im­pres­sion on me as a child. So much so that, aged ten, I se­cretly dug some up to plant in the school car park. Who has in­spired your ca­reer the most? Fam­ily friend and gar­dener, Vic­to­ria Park­house has been a con­stant en­cour­age­ment. When I was a weedy 14-year-old, Vicky gave me my first taste of hor­ti­cul­ture when I was on work ex­pe­ri­ence at Cotswold Gar­den Flow­ers. Favourite gar­den Work­ing some­where can com­pletely change your appreciati­on of a place. Derek Jar­man’s Prospect Cot­tage at Dun­geness, on the Kent coast, formed the fo­cus of my univer­sity dis­ser­ta­tion but it was later, while help­ing in the gar­den, that I re­ally fell in love with this unique land­scape. Dream plant des­ti­na­tion I have never made it to the Bur­ren in west Ire­land, a unique ge­ol­ogy and flora rel­a­tively close to home. How­ever, I do dream of alpine mead­ows in Ge­or­gia and conifers in Cal­i­for­nia… what­ever the des­ti­na­tion, see­ing plants in the wild is in­valu­able. Big­gest chal­lenges fac­ing gar­den­ers today Gar­den­ers are tied to Na­ture’s rhythms and re­sist the in­stan­ta­neous ex­pec­ta­tions of a dig­i­tal age. The chal­lenge is adapt­ing to a so­ci­ety that is in­creas­ingly ur­ban and on­line, whilst re­tain­ing in­tegrity of knowl­edge and a sin­cere pas­sion for the nat­u­ral world. What heart­ens you about our at­ti­tudes to hor­ti­cul­ture today? It is tempt­ing to be cyn­i­cal in the face of fund­ing cuts, skills gaps, chang­ing cli­mate (the list goes on…) but some­how in the gar­den one can­not help but be op­ti­mistic. Gar­dens, like art, have the power to trans­form the way we look at the world. Favourite gar­dens blogs or books. Derek Jar­man’s Mod­ern Na­ture is beau­ti­fully writ­ten and one I re­turn to re­peat­edly. I do not fol­low many blogs but Ian Young’s of the Scot­tish Rock Gar­den Club is fan­tas­tic. As is Plinth et al for a more artis­tic an­gle. Un­sung plant hero Mu­nic­i­pal shrubs such as Co­toneaster hor­i­zon­talis – never judge a plant by its rep­u­ta­tion but by how it per­forms in the gar­den. When pruned well it pro­vides grace­ful struc­ture, while its flow­ers bring it to life with bees. Bright berries fol­low in au­tumn and dusted with hoar frost it can be a star of the win­ter gar­den. Con­tact jbruce210@google­mail.com

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