A quick fire interview with Tania

I have known Tania for 20 years. We met when she was the gardening editor of House and Garden magazine and I had just shown my first interiors collection at the House & Garden show.  She visited my studio and we immediately hit it off, especially when she bought about 15 cushions (which she still has!). She invited me to stay with her in Wiltshire which was a bit of a crazy blind date weekend but luckily we quickly realised we had so much in common.

We went on long walks, with her telling me all the Latin names of the plants I liked, and we marvelled together at the extraordinary beauty of nature. Over the years she has been such an amazing customer/dealer of plants for my work, and I am forever in her debt! Tania is something of a patron of arts and crafts and it is not just her garden that is filled with inspiration. Her
house is stuffed to the brim with beautiful pieces from artists & makers such as a beautiful peony from Phoebe Cummings and art by Susan Derges and Andy Goldsworthy.

IMG_2123
IMG_3661

Mantlepiece of dreams!

Tania developed her love of gardening after success with a packet of ipomoea seeds in Ibiza. She went on to study garden design at the English Gardening School where she met her (very lovely) husband Dr Jamie Compton. She spent 12 years as Gardens Editor for House & Garden magazine, before resuming work as a designer and is currently the contributing Gardens editor for World of Interiors magazine, and sits on the board of the Garden Museum. As well as looking after her six acres of meadow in Wiltshire, she spends every spare moment she has (of which there are precious few!) with her arms in a natural dye vat.

Here is a very quick fire interview with her, but click here to read a more in-depth one too…

What do you do?
I am a writer, gardener, designer and dyer.

What is your first memory of us?
Pretty sure it was in your old studio and we talked plant plant plant, Greece, seed heads and Astrantia…

Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
Summer

If there was a paint called Tania, what colour would it be?
Weald yellow… or hot pink! (Clarissa: That’s my colour you can’t have it!)

What would be your luxury item on a desert island?
A wet flannel to remove sand from my feet

The travel destination you’re dying to go back to?
Socotra

Is there any garden in the world that you’ve visited and just gone oh my god!
My own garden every time I come back from being away (Clarissa: I can vouch for this!)

What’s your favourite tree?
Tilia Winter Orange

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?
Stirring vats of natural dye, it combines two of my favourite things – plants and colours

Favourite smell?
Gardenia

What’s your pet peeve in a garden design?
Bindweed – I’m currently fighting it!

Do you think about plant silhouettes when designing a garden?
Yes all the time, you have to think 360 degrees

What’s your greatest gardening tip?
Water long and deep, and leave a patch of gravel somewhere and just see what grows!

Are there any conventional rules that you follow in gardening, like blue and green should never be seen?
No, there are no rules, just no plastic!

Are there any plants that you dislike?
No. I used to dislike Gerberas but now I have seen them growing in the wild in South Africa I have changed my mind!

What is your fave part of your job?
Getting texts or emails or photos from happy clients. Some send me a photo every year. It’s a heavenly feeling.

I thought I’d round off this post with just a few photos of the many taken in Tania’s Garden…

Starting with Spring

IMG_0468 copy

Summer

IMG_0192 copy

Autumn

IMG_8623

Winter

And this is how I look, running out with my camera at the crack of dawn in my pyjamas to catch the mist, and going back to London on the train with a bag full of seedheads!

IMG_8178

Tania in front of the mural I named after her!

More stories…