What Makes A Garden



Jinny Blom, the landscape gardener and writer, speaks to guests including Brian Eno and Tim Walker to uncover what inspires us to work with plants, what connects us to the land, and the complex constellation of ideas, experiences, thoughts and senses that make a garden.

The smell of good soil

Episode One

Jinny Blom speaks to the celebrated chef Skye Gyngell, whom she first met when invited to design the private dining room of Skye’s beloved London restaurant, Spring. Looking back over their continued friendship, they share thoughts on their approach to gardening and food, how they have overcome challenges in their respective professions, and the joys – and drawbacks – of eating squirrel as a form of pest control.

Death and the garden

Episode Two

Landscape gardener and writer Jinny Blom speaks to her friend, the photographer Tim Walker, who rose to prominence in the mid-1990s with his highly imaginative and fantastical photographs inspired by his love of fairy tales and a thirst for adventure. Tim’s unique images have been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, W, LOVE and i-D, and his work has been shown at museums around the world, including the V&A and the National Portrait Gallery. In a wide-ranging conversation, the pair explore why being outdoors represents freedom, the joy of playing with space and perspective, and the profound connection between gardens and death.

Order and chaos

Episode Three

Continuing her exploration into the ideas that go into making a garden, Jinny speaks to the writer Olivia Laing. Oliva is the author of six books including To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring, and The Lonely City. Their first novel, Crudo, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and they write on art and culture for The Guardian, Financial Times, and The New York Times. In 2020, Olivia began to restore a walled garden in Suffolk. The pair discuss process, how their respective backgrounds have influenced their work, and how gardening is a way of bringing order to the chaos of life.

Gardens are for people

Episode Four

Jinny Blom is joined by Maria Balshaw, director of Tate. Maria became the first woman Director in the museum’s history when she was appointed in 2017. Prior to that she was Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, which she led through a major redevelopment, winning the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the year. As well as her love of art, Maria is a keen gardener, and has been integral to the development and protection of gardens at several museums including Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage. She and Jinny discuss the relationship between art and gardening, and the importance of people having free access to both.

In search of authenticity

Episode Five

Jinny Blom speaks to her friend of over two decades, the eminent historic buildings architect Ptolemy Dean, whose eponymous practice specialises in conservation work of historic buildings in the UK. Ptolemy is Surveyor of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey, work that earned him his OBE, and was a great personal favourite of Queen Elizabeth II. Having worked together on many projects over the years restoring and advancing with new ingredients the vernacular buildings of the British Isles, the pair sit down to talk about the relationship between buildings and the landscape.

Art and light

Episode Six

Jinny Blom speaks to her old friend Brian Eno, the musician, composer, record producer and visual artist. One of the founding members of Roxy Music, Brian has worked with everyone from David Bowie, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, U2, Coldplay and Grace Jones to name but a very few, and his visual artworks have been exhibited around the world, including at the Serpentine Gallery, the Science Museum and the Venice Biennale. As well as both supporting the work of CW+, the arts charity at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, Jinny and Brian sing together in his a cappella choir. They sit down to talk about art, architecture, music and much more.