01 October 2015 By Sam Duke
Last year, garden and landscape design student Kate Hart from Sparsholt College created our show garden at Hampton Court. Since then, the calendar has been busy and Kate has had an exciting year.
When asked what has happened since Hampton Court 2014, Kate took a deep breath ‘It’s been an intense but fabulous year.” Not only is she into her fourth year of studies, the dream job opportunity arose for Kate. “I started with Elks Smith Garden Design in January and it’s been marvellous.” Kate continued, “a steep learning curve; learning academically is one thing, putting it into practice is another.”
Kate has always wanted to be a Garden Designer from a young age, but it never seemed like an obvious career choice until she found herself getting more and more interested in the design aspect, as well as the gardening, “I just thought to myself, do you know what, you may fall flat on your face, but you won’t know until you give it a try,” and Kate hasn’t looked back since.
Shortly after starting with Elks Smith Design, Kate hit the ground running when she found out a proposal had been submitted to design a concept garden at RHS Tatton. Working closely with the Photonics department at the University of Southampton, Helen Elks-Smith's team created a space that celebrated the ‘international year of light.’ The science-based garden was inspired by colour and light, it was full of images and funky glass, making people think about how plants use light to produce energy.
Entitled ‘Reflecting Photonics’ the garden was inspired by the world leading research Southampton University conducts into fibre optics and draws parallels between the holey fibres designed by the University and vascular bundles within plant stems. The colourful planting illustrated how the light we see is made up a spectrum of colours.
The hard work paid off with ‘Reflecting Photonics Garden’ at Tatton receiving a gold medal along with the peoples choice award for a large garden, “we are exhausted but delighted with the results” Kate smiled.
When asked what working in the horticultural industry is like, Kate replied “everybody comes from a different background and has a unique angle to bring to the table. Everyone you meet loves their job and there is always so much to learn from the people around me.”
So what is next for Kate in her exciting journey? “College is my top priority and I am currently in my last year, once I have completed this I hope to move on to Garden Design full time!”
We wish Kate all the best and can’t wait to watch her new career evolve. For more information on Elks-Smith Garden Design, visit their website www.elks-smith.co.uk .