I am a fully trained gardener and garden designer, practicing for the last 15 years. When it comes to working out what you want from your garden I am straight forward and down to earth.
I take my professionalism seriously and am pushing myself through the rigorous adjudication process to become a full member of the Society of Garden Designers (the only professional affiliation that exists for garden design), I am more than 2/3 of the way through!
Much of my garden design work may be seen on my collaboration website under Arnott & Ashworth Garden Design
In my late 20’s I achieved a Masters degree in Taxonomy and Biodiversity from Imperial College, London (taught at the amazing Natural History Museum).
Before that I spent 2 years working as a research assistant in Tanzania which included collecting data for vast vegetation surveys, and following a troop of baboons!
The taxonomy and biodiversity course led me to spend 4 years working as a digital photographer in the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology – this included a year taking photos of ants for the legendary biologist and author Professor E.O. Wilson. It also afforded me a stint in the Dominican Republic, where I took part in fogging, pinning and photographing insects for biodiversity surveys.
I left the museum world because I needed to let out my creative side and most of all, I desperately needed to work with living things again! Garden design fitted that bill for me.
In September 2017 I was appointed by Duxford Parish Council to design a community and wildlife greenspace on a 1.67 hectare piece of agricultural land in Duxford (known as Brewery field).
This was the opportunity I was waiting for to combine all the things I love: design, wildlife, community and helping to connect people on a personal level to nature. This is the vital connection I believe lies at the heart of our environmental crisis, heal this and we have hope. I am still working closely with the development of this site, and probably will until the day I die if they’ll let me!
No-one can claim to know it all about biodiversity, and I have been on a very steep learning curve with this Greenspace Design. Ultimately my role is designer and facilitator – but I have a good overview and understanding of the issues and a great network of local experts I can call on, all working in conservation and community locally:
Ashley Arbon MBE; Ecological consultant
Guy Belcher; Cambridge City Council Biodiversity
Mike Gittos; Butterfly conservation
Chis Hewson; British Trust for Ornithology
Dominic Walsh; Garden Designer and Wildlife Specialist
Daniel Lee; Garden designer, plantsmen and Biodiversity podcast host
Pete Wrapson; Botanist and vegetable growing expert (formerly Jamie Oliver’s Head gardener)
Mike Foley; Conservationist (specialism birds)