Tommaso del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz have been asked by the Daily Telegraph to design their garden at the Chelsea Flower Show this year.
Founded in 2000 as a partnership, del Buono Gazerwitz has grown into an established, busy practice of six talented landscape architects currently working on some of Britain and Europe’s most prestigious gardens and estates.
With a current portfolio of projects in London, the English countryside, France, Switzerland and Tuscany and previous work in locations as varied as Greece, Luxembourg, the United States and the Caribbean, del Buono Gazerwitz has cemented its reputation as a design team sensitive to the landscapes, materials and people it works with.
Over the years del Buono Gazerwitz have taken part in several competitions and were shortlisted in 2001 by English Heritage for their ‘Contemporary Heritage Gardens’ Competition and in 2002 by the Royal Parks Commission for the Princess Diana Memorial Garden in Hyde Park, London.
2008 saw the creation of their first show Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show; ‘Summer Solstice’ for sponsor Daylesford Organic was awarded a Sliver Gilt Medal and has since been rebuilt at the Daylesford headquarters in Gloucestershire. In 2010 one of their gardens was the recipient of a prestigious BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) Awards.
Of Italian birth, Tommaso del Buono, CMLI MSGD, left his native Florence in the 80’s to study at the University of Greenwich. After completing his studies in 1987 he worked in London for different practices and, after a 3 year stint at Michael Hopkins and Partners, he joined Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s practice where, in the course of a 10 year long collaboration, he was involved in a wide range of projects both in the UK and abroad.
As a garden writer, Tommaso was a regular contributor to ‘Space’, a design and property supplement of the Guardian newspaper, has written for other publications including ‘Gardens Illustrated’ and currently sits on the editorial board of the Garden Design Journal.
Paul Gazerwitz, CMLI MSGD, studied Landscape Architecture at Cornell University in New York and started his career working in his native USA. After moving to London in 1989, Paul worked for several, award winning practices in the commercial sector, becoming involved in the creation of many large public open spaces and mixed use developments. An experienced plantsman, Paul also joined Arabella Lennox-Boyd’ office in the late 1990’s prior to setting up the practice with Tommaso in 2000.
I have been reading quite a lot of the coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show and this article by Mark Griffiths in Country Life summed up, for me, what was so special about Christopher Bradley-Hole’s garden.
“With the Daily Telegraph Graden, Christopher Bradley-Hole returns to Chelsea after an eight-year absence. It’s a classic case of ‘cometh the hour’. This is not only a great garden, but also, fortuitously, a sublime meditation on our new-found Englishness. In semi-abstract form, it represents the human forces that have shaped our countryside. The forest understorey is embodied by hazels, artfully sculpted with parasol crowns and low-slung branches. Beneath them, a naturalistic tapestry of perennials conveys the flora of the meadow, woodland, heath and water margin.
Not all of these plants are native, but they look it and that’s the point. Mr Bradley-Hole wants to reflect the arrival on our shores of species from overseas, one of the oldest influences on our flora, and by no means always negative. He also points out that nations with a strong home-grown horticultural identity – Japan for example – have no qualms about using non-native plants provided they harmonise with the indigenous: purism of palette is not necessarily the way to achieve purity of vision.
The interplay of light and shadow is one of this garden’s exquisitely judged features. Its wildflower weave is shady, dappled, and sunlit in turns, but always seamless in cohesion and luminous in detail. Punctuating it are small rectangular pools and blocks of box, yew and beech whose contrasting greens re-create the checkering of field patterns. The giants of the forest have been felled; but they endure in the form of a green oak colonnade backed by a charred oak wall.
Set into this wall, a narrow niche acts as a shelf for the series of flints, found objects that have all the enigmatic potency of a Palaeolithic Venus or a Henry Moore maquette. It is here, within the loggia, that you stand and look. One of the many revolutionary features, this is a garden not for entering but for contemplating, a three-dimensional picture framed by its own oaken gallery.
Mr Bradley-Hole’s inspiration for that came from his experience of Ryoan-ji, the Kyoto temple whose 500-year-old garden is a landscape in abstract and microcosm, a panorama to be viewed from a verandah. There’s profundity and beauty in the notion that a garden may be high art capable of setting the mind free when explored with the eyes alone. We should celebrate the fact that it has finally arrived at this centenary Chelsea, and in an English design consecrated to the mysteries of our landscape”.
The Show is over for another year and the plans are already starting for next year. But the pictures below show you a Chelsea you never see. Only a few days ago, these gardens were Gold medal winning gardens. Now they are a building site.
Robert Herrick was right when he wrote:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old times are still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
And on that uncharacteristacilly philosophical note, I will bid you farewell for another year. Let’s see what 2014 brings.