So many lives are lived imperfectly, we all have to learn to create a home for ourselves in an imperfect world; the garden reawakens the drive to perfection, creating an urge to structure and shape.
To design is to travel inwards; it is the creation of an inner-space, turning one’s back to the over riding backdrop of reality: the tall skies, the large mountains, the continuous interplay of contrasting shapes and colours.
Within the chaos that is the garden space, I endeavour to create small pockets of structure.
About gardens and gardening on Achill Island, at the edge of the Atlantic:
“The main thing is this: creating shelter from the ocean wind. Young plants, trees and shrubs from our own nursery are often more resilient when faced with the climate conditions here on Achill; a lot of the continental plants do seem to need some time to get settled in.
It practically never freezes, giving free rein to experiment with species that would not stand a chance in the Midlands; a lot of the plants in this garden are not really frost prone.
The Achill landscape is a stereotypical example of the environment natural to healthy, acidic soil; thus we are blessed with an abundance of rhododendrons and a prolific number of other acid-loving plants. Most flora takes well here; sometimes it’s too wet though – something to watch for in winter.”
(taken from an interview with Willem about art and garden design by Gordon Ledbetter published in “Compass” (issue 36, spring 2006):
To get a specific design for your garden, I first have to know the size of the garden, your
own ideas about gardening and your wishes for the concept, the condition and quality of the soil, the location and surroundings of house and garden and of course the amount of money you want to spend. Therefore we first need to talk.