The Gardens, weeds & words podcast, Series 1 Episode 10

Someone else’s garden

with Marian Boswall

What do you do when you realise you’ve been living with someone else’s garden? In discussion with landscape architect Marian Boswall, we discuss intention and purpose in garden design, the place of the landscape, and who the client really is.

The song of the cuckoo introduces this episode, and gets me wondering why we have such a soft spot for a bird that isn’t really, when you think about it, a particularly admirable character. As an indicator species, it is however a sign of the health of our ecosystem, so it’s been a relief to hear this increasingly rare sound.

And while in the wondering mood, I get to pondering how so many of us put up with gardens that we haven’t made truly our own. It’s one of those situations where you have to put in a little work up front, but the pay-off is incalculable, especially when compared with the cost to our peace of mind and general quality of life that comes from having a garden that is somehow at odds with the way we live our lives. Which may sound like a grandiose claim, but you’ll remember it the next time something in your garden starts to niggle at you.

But can our gardens ever be completely our own? Surely, we’re just looking after a patch of land for a bit – one day, we’ll either pass it on, or give it back, so presumably there’s some responsibility beyond that to ourselves to garden in harmony with the natural world. This is just the kind of thing that landscape architect Marian Boswell deals with on a daily basis, and I was delighted to have her on the podcast to talk about bringing intention and purpose to our gardens.

There’s a micro review of Laetitia Maklouf’s book Sweet Peas for Summer, with an extract read by the author, and the usual soundtrack of my days spent gardening here in the Weald of Kent.

I hope you enjoy this episode – please continue to share the podcast on social media, and if you’d really like to brighten my day, leave a review on iTunes or your podcast app of choice. Or drop me a note in the comments section below, having listened on the embedded player on this page.

Gardens, weeds and words podcast, S01E10 show notes

A blend of slow radio, gardening advice and conversation, and readings from the best garden and wildlife writing.

These notes may contain affiliate links. 

Garden soundtrack

The cuckoo.

Someone else’s garden

Micro book review

Sweet Peas for Summer by Laetitia Maklouf, published by Bloomsbury 2012

Extract read by Laetitia

Turning someone else’s garden into your own – the client-designer relationship.

Who really is the client?

Interview with Marian Boswall 08:34

08:35 The client is the planet 

10:19 Using Instagram to engage people about their gardens

12:00 The difference between landscape architect and garden designer

14:14 A spiritual side of gardening

17:00 The Blackthorn Trust

17:46 Biodynamic gardening 

19:30 Domestic gardens and the landscape

22:10 The garden city movement 

22:52 Planning nature back in to our towns 

23:50 Gardening across society

25:00 Gardening in the city

26:00 Wakehurst Place and the Millennium Seed Bank

26:32 INTENTION and PURPOSE in the garden

28:00 The ‘Bossy Garden’

29:40 Big ticket garden design – how does it trickle down?

A huge thank you to Marian for joining me on this episode. You can find her here:




Thank you to Laetitia Maklouf for reading from her book, Sweet Peas for Summer. You can find Laetitia online on her website here, where you can sign up for her regular newsletter. 





You can hear find the podcast trailer and the first four episodes here, either on iTunes or on Switcher.

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.