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Emma Plunket

Garden Designer

When not designing gardens in the London and South East you'll find Emma at Chiltern Forage farm, where she has turned 8 acres of pasture into native wildflower meadows with plantings of edible flowers, berries, fruit, foliage and roots.

London garden designed by Emma

Your three favourite flowers?

Rosa mutabilis ancient, delicate and ever changing tones hence the name; wild violets and Magnolia stellata

Tell us about your childhood garden?

Memories of being in trouble for eating chives before my birthday party and cooking sausages, which were daffodil buds. So pretty hands on.

Who or what inspired your career choice?

Desperation to get out of an office full of brand consultants and graphic designers

What is a typical day in the life of Emma?

Luckily there isn’t one.

No garden is complete without …

Trees and plants (no apologies to the outdoor room proponents)

Something we’d find:

On your bedside table: the best hand cream

In your flower arrangement: anything wild from Chiltern Forage Farm

In your garden shed: wish it was a greenhouse but it’s just a humble store in a shady corner

The flaw you wish you didn’t have?

I try not to dwell on such thoughts

What would you be in another life?

one of my dachshunds

Guiding principles?

Agree the brief before designing or planting anything.

Who is a horticultural hero?

The nurseryman on the south coast who’s been growing most of the plants for my gardens for over a decade

What is the one flower or plant you’d never plant in your garden, but don’t detest when you see others plant it?

Tree fern

If there was a fire, and you could only keep one horticultural book, what would it be?

Noel Kingbury’s ‘Planting: A New Perspective’ for its ecological approach

For posterity, what would you like your work to be known for?

What outlives me – the trees and the people who’ll look after them

Contact: @ChilternForageFarm

The Chilterns, where Emma is restoring 8 acres of pasture to native hay meadows

Quick fire: some favourite things

Book: Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking – a good read

Film: Jamon Jamon

Painting: Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights

Smell: Sarcococca in winter by our door

Meal: my husband’s cheese souffle

Travel Destination: Sicily for being on the edge of the Med

A cause near and dear to me: Plantlife

Place to go for inspiration: Hergest Croft Gardens

A great walk near where you live: Holland Park

Thing to collect obsessively: hats

Museum: The Green Vault in Dresden

Favourite person to follow on Instagram: @chilternhills

Garden in the UK: Aberglasney

Garden anywhere else: my grandmother’s on Kerry coast with sign on gate ‘Beware the agapanthus’

Images of Emma and her garden: GAP/Jacqui Hurst

Emma Plunket
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