MEET THE GARDENER
ABOUT JILL & RICHARD SIMPSON
I have loved gardens and gardening for a lifetime, from the little moss gardens I used to put around my dolls house as a child, to working in a nursery, and later designing gardens for other people while my children were growing up. I have a long standing interest in art and painting, I studied art and art history at Canterbury University before my children were born. Eventually the interest in gardens became a career as I began designing gardens in Christchurch supporting my family as they grew up.
Richard and I began working together on our great project of the farm and Garden at Fishermans Bay in the late nineties, the farm took priority at first and the house and garden were a wonderful place for ourselves and our family to enjoy, but garden development took a back seat to family and the farm. About fifteen years ago with family grown I stopped drawing landscape plans and began to build the garden much more seriously -The word obsessional is occasionally thrown in here but in a very benign sense, the need to create is now used entirely in the creation of the garden
Fishermans Bay, a place of such raw beauty, is inspirational and has given me a perfect setting for a garden. Initially because we both have a huge interest in conservation, in my case the garden was entirely native as there is such a lot of the natural world left here.
As time has gone by the garden has come to represent the different parts of my life, the long border is a memory of cottage gardens popular everywhere when my children were growing up and the new daffodil paddock takes me back to childhood in Purau Bay picking daffodils for sale in the market in Christchurch.
Lately I have been influenced by European and American gardens seen on trips to visit children in the UK and Europe, leading me to use a wilder style, also the new perennial movement in the UK and the Prairie style in the US and challenges me to interpret it in an New Zealand style
Where to for the future? I have already made a huge garden and any further increase in size would be unwise given we are not getting any younger. It is however a testament to my happy obsession with the garden that I cannot imagine not continuing to modify it and improve it, always imagining a better more beautiful version in the future - A characteristic shared by all gardeners everywhere.