Xanthe White has won a clutch of landscape design awards and written two books, but she’s about to tackle a rather more personal project: her own garden.
Xanthe, what makes a good garden now?
It’s about relationships with the landscape and the person. The designer is a conduit between the owner and their landscape – the more it looks like I don’t exist to the client, the more successful a design could be said to be, because the client feels like it’s theirs. The importance of growing food is very clear. But the thing I consider of primary importance is diversity: sensitivity to the surrounding environment, and making our plant palette as broad as possible to leave us options as changes in nature evolve.
Do you approve of “low-maintenance” gardens with limited plant palettes?
I disagree that limited plant palettes are low-maintenance. If things are looser with more depth it’s a bit more forgiving. But if someone likes things very controlled and clean, that’s fine. You shouldn’t put people in a garden that doesn’t fit them.
You’ve just renovated your house. What’s your garden looking like?
We haven’t landscaped because we don’t have any money for it yet. But I love it, even though it’s quite shit. I wake up every morning and all I can see is the treetops and birds, the sun hitting the plants. A loose and natural garden changes every day. Watching it do so is really good for your wellbeing.
Interview by: Jeremy Hansen
Visit xanthewhitedesign.co.nz for more garden inspiration.