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21 February 2020

Q&A: Famed British Landscape Gardener Jinny Blom

Jinny Blom is what in plant speak we’d call a successful hybrid: born in the U.K. to French and Danish parents. In human speak, Blom’s would most likely be categorized as the multipotentialite variety: a landscape architect but also an author, inventor, gardener, salon hostess, tree-hugger—add to that, a former psychotherapist and theater designer. She splits her time between London and Oxford and hosts Jinny’s Tonic, the name for her eclectic salon where regular people mingle with guest stars, artists and high achievers. “You find they are mortal and fascinating just like the rest of us,” she says. We recently caught up with Blom to discover a few of her favorite things.

Jinny Blom English Garden with Irises

Temple Guiting in the Cotswolds, England


What’s your favorite plant(s)?
Walnut trees and Genista aetnensis (or, less scientifically, the Mount Etna broom tree)

What’s one of your favorite resourceful/inspirational books on landscape gardening?
I return frequently to anything written by Graham Stuart Thomas.

A tool you can’t live without?
My Swiss Army knife.

Jinny Blom Landscape Architect

Arijiju in the Kenyan Highlands


What’s one of the first things you do when hired to architect the outdoors?
Walk. Ideally on my own.

Name 3 lessons you’ve learned about the wild through your job.
1. We are not the boss of it, however much we might like to think we are.
2. As Aristotle said, “Nature does nothing in vain.”
3. I love it more than anything manmade, even art and music.

How has landscape architecture changed in the face of climate changes?
It hasn’t reacted fast enough. With my commissions, I really push my clients to consider climate. And they tend to enjoy discovering how changes can be made that improve life, such as using less water more intelligently.

Jinny Blom Landscape Architect

Arijiju in the Kenyan Highlands


What wildly beautiful (public) places blow you away in England?
Avebury (a Neolithic stone circle with a living village in it), Rousham (get there quick!), the white cliffs of Dover

How has your background in theater design and in psychotherapy helped in your current profession?
Both theater design and psychology are about human behavior. Landscaping takes this knowledge to the outside world. It’s been a great help in understanding the interface between people and nature.

Jinny Blom Landscape Architect

Arijiju in the Kenyan Highlands

When is the last time you hugged a tree? Or what’s a sign of respect that you give to nature’s green beings?
I’m usually arm-in-arm with a tree. I sing to them, I plant thousands of new babies. I’ll grow trees from seed or scion—whatever it takes. I’ll often push walnuts and acorns into the ground like a squirrel … Grow, my beauties!

What’s coming up for you in 2020?
Sooooo busy! It’s incredible! And thank you to everyone who invites me to work with them. I am very lucky. I’m working on a design-rich and complex London garden for a very interesting person. Also, an exceptional house in a beautiful forest for some extraordinary clients—a really unusual project. A top-secret, high-end London business project. And, terrifyingly, my own garden at home!

Jinny Blom Janet Mavec Heart Leaf Earrings

Jinny Blom, wearing Janet Mavec's Heart Leaf Earrings

To understand more of Jinny Blom’s process, read “The Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design." Or check in with her at jinnyblom.com.