John Brookes MBE answers The Questions

How do I introduce John Brookes?  Is it even necessary I wonder?  Well, just in case here are a few things about him:  John has been designing gardens in a career that has lasted over 50 fifty years.  He owns Denmans in West Sussex, a garden I have yet to visit but it is on the list.  He has won four gold medals at Chelsea Flower Show and has worked all over the world.  Add to this an extensive list of books he has authored it can be no surprise that he is widely regarded as one of the most influential designers of his time and is often referenced as a key inspiration for many high profile designers.

John also runs one of the courses presented by My Garden School: How to Design a Garden, this is truly learning from the master.  The courses start regularly and the next session starts 6th June.

The Questions

In which garden do you feel happiest?
Denmans – my own
If you could only have five gardening tools, which would they be?
Fork, secateurs, a rake, a barrow, shears
What are you most proud of?
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Put it in the bank and feel comfortable for a time!
Who are your garden heroes (no more than three)
Thomas Church, Graham Stewart Thomas, Beth Chatto
What skill would you like to learn and why (does not have to be gardening related)
Painting for pleasure
If you could visit any garden right this minute, which one would it be?
Altamont – up state New York – one of my gardens.
What is your current plant obsession?
I don’t have them
Which garden tool is never far from your hand?
A fork to dig out the ground elder!
What is your favourite gardening/plant related word?
Simplicity – less is more
What do you wish you could do better?
Use my computer
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?
Learning to keep my mouth shut at certain times
What makes a perfect day for you?
It’s sunny, i can work in the garden – no-one tries to contact me – with a bottle of dry, white wine.
If you had one piece of advice to offer to someone what would it be?
It depends on who it is.

I am immensely grateful to John for answering my questions.

Next time: Lady Ursula Cholmeley

with grateful thanks to Sarah Gartside.


  1. I've visited Denmans a couple of time, it is a really inspiring garden. I remember the walled garden had some wonderful foliage planting and the dry stream bed was beautifully done.

  2. I have not yet visited Denmans but as a gardenbook collector I have read many of his books. Nice to read the questions and answers, always interesting.

  3. Denmans is an inspirational garden in natural planting in different growing conditions.


Post a Comment

Comments are approved before being published