Something I have realized since coming to the Inchbald is the great value of becoming familiar with other garden designer's work.
I wish I would have understood this a decade ago.
Partly I avoided others work because I felt that I was supposed to come up with original ideas all on my own - without the influence of another designer. I thought if I was a real designer, I would come up with the next best idea solo. Well how ridiculous is that?
I have always sought to be influenced and inspired in my designs by what surrounds me…leaning heavily towards music, architecture, travel, and nature itself. I felt those were noble and acceptable influences to be inspired by. But I always dismissed other garden designers, not wholly - but enough that now I feel I am playing a much needed game of catch-up. The game of who-is-who-and-who-designed-what.
So to all budding and beginning designers, I plea - get to know your designers - past and present! Research their work, know what makes (or made) them tick - what drives their designs, their opinions and their likes/dislikes, etc...and it's not so you can be them, or even be like them - but it's so you can be inspired by them. And in your journey of discovery - I believe that there will be one designer, one designer above all others that will emerge, whom you will be surprised at what you learn about them and their designs. And that one designer is you.
As I have been reading and studying the works of other garden designers in an honest effort to get to know them and their designs, I have been surprised at how it has helped me get to know myself as a garden designer - and to see how my development is evolving into something that is indeed, unique to me. The irony lies in that the very thing I was avoiding in order to keep my individuality in my profession, is actually a force in discovering my distinctive essence as a garden designer.