Welcome to garden designer Kate Durr. Kate’s background is in television presenting and she is married to actor Jason Durr, well-known for his role as PC Mike Bradley in ITV’s ‘Heartbeat’.
Kate studied at The Cotswold Gardening School under the award-winning garden designer principal, Caroline Tatham. Not long after she began the course, she submitted a garden design to RHS Malvern which was selected.
I was brought up in the Wiltshire countryside on my parents small holding and from todderdom I helped in the garden. Mum and Dad grew all their own vegetables and fruit, so I was always picking beands or stealing strawberries!
Mum gave me my own little patch, which I edged with Cotswold stone and I grew annual flowers from seed and rows of carrots. I would spend hours sitting patiently waiting for the fairies, I believed lived in the Aquilegia flowers, to show themselves.
Picture: Aquilegia vulgaris (columbine, granny’s bonnets) by Lydia Penrose via RHS archive
There is no finer pursuit than creating beautiful gardens in collaboration with delighted clients, it’s an absolute pleasure. I particularly enjoy the thought that a garden I help to create will become a place where wonderful family memories will be made. What do you find most challenging about designing gardens?
The technical side of garden design is a challenge, but I work with contractors I trust implicitly. So together we can deal with tricky issues like slopes or drainage and find a positive aesthetic solution. What has inspired your winning design for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival? My inspiration for my RHS Malvern Show Garden was the work of blacksmith, Neil Lossock (@lossocksforge). I saw his statuesque steel panels depicting king ferns and was amazed that such a sinuous organic form could be so beautifully captured in a man-made material. My garden features his fern panels and also a wonderful, brand new tulip variety which is the emblem of the cancer charity, Ucare.
In winter I adore the fragrance of Lonicera x purpusii or honeysuckle ‘Winter Beauty’. This rather insignificant-looking shrub flowers from December to March, but its heady fragrance will literally stop you in your tracks! It has a rich, citrussy perfume that I find irresistible.
No garden should be without Sarcococca Confusa, a wonderful evergreen shrub that love a dry shady spot. It cheers me from December through to March with its astonishing scent – pick just one sprig and it will fragrance an entire room with its gorgeous vanilla aroma.
I am a huge fan and avid reader of the late Rosemary Verey. Her beautiful eye for planting combinations always inspires me. Jinny Blom‘s work (@jinnyblom) is also so inventive yet elegant – I love her designs.
I do use gloves when I plant, but I also like to be able to feel the plants and the soil when I work, so I often remove them! Your nourishing hand lotion is the perfect solution for my hard-working hands. It has a fabulous botanical scent and is highly moisturising, yet easily absorbed. With its elegant, artistic packaging it’s my new bedside table fixture!
Right plant, right place. Do a lttle reading and be determined to only use plants that will thrive in your garden, be it shady, dry, damp or exposed. Then you will soon have a thriving eden of your very own.
We wish you the very best with your garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May.
Thanks for reading – Happy Gardening!
Follow Kate’s gardening adventures on Twitter @katecharman
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