WHAT MAKES A GOOD GARDEN – Tues 9th July 2019

The event: WHAT MAKES A GOOD GARDEN  with Edward  Flint 
Where: Vestry Hall, Marden
When: Tuesday 9th July 2019 at 7.30pm 

Edward Flint spent lengthy spells living and working at Great Dixter under the informal tutelage of Christopher Lloyd. His education was broadened working at the renowned Washfield Nursery for Elizabeth Strangman and in private gardens in the South of France, Switzerland and throughout the UK.

Since 2002 Edward has been head gardener at Tidebrook Manor. The evolution of the garden here over the past ten years is largely the result of Edward’s skill and vision, and the result is a real tour de force of contemporary garden design.

The house (not open to the public) has, in its time, been owned by Sir Rex Harrison, Sir Michael Tippett (Edward Flint reckons that the woodland part of the garden inspired his creation of The Midsummer Marriage, which he wrote while living here!) and, more recently, the former ITN Newscaster Reginald ‘Reggie’ Bosanquet.

Edward is an experienced and passionate teacher with an affable and down-to-earth style evolved over 15 years experience lecturing at the renowned English Gardening School, based at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London.  More recently he has overseen the creation and development of the ‘Art & Craft of Gardening’ course at Great Dixter, a monthly hands-on course aimed at keen amateur gardeners. These are informal, lively, practical, relevant, irreverent and fun.


The speaker at our July meeting was Ed Flint, whose talk was ‘Good Things – a Salamagundi of Gardening’.   He wanted to outline the connection between growing things and cookery, and mentioned Jane Grigson’s cookery book ‘Good Things’ which was apparently Christopher Lloyd’s cookery ‘bible’, a book more about enjoying food than a manual of cookery.

Ed went on to emphasise that when growing anything, the health of the soil in your garden is vital.  He then covered many aspects of creating a garden, including considering the landscape & any views surrounding the garden (borrowed landscape); hedges, trees, different coloured foliage, hard landscaping – which he suggested should be kept to a minimum – plus the practicalities, eg weeding. Vegetables are colourful and of course provide a real contrast of shapes and forms in any garden. Plant colour and structure combinations are worth taking time over, as they can make things more interesting. He described a woodland garden as ‘benign neglect’ and seasonality as all important.  Regarding advice, he recommended picking the brains of knowledgeable people which can be really worthwhile.