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Iain Hilleary

Iain is a full time gardener and dedicated plantsman who has developed his interest gardening and planting from the Outer Hebrides to the Home Counties. He loves every aspect of helping things grow, whether that be the challenges presented by inhospitable conditions or the suitability of plant combinations for a particular purpose.

He previously spent ten years involved with food - buying and selling lobsters and various other crustaceans and molluscs, managing restaurants and cooking professionally - before returning, in 1999, to his earlier love of the garden. He later re-trained in horticulture at Abingdon College.

Iain was partly brought up in the Hebrides and it was the beautiful Hebridean machair - the fertile land between shore and field - that inspired a particular interest in wildflowers and thereafter their cousins in the herbaceous border. It is his practical involvement with some of our more local projects that provides the core horticultural knowledge essential to the realistic creation and ongoing development of our gardens. He sources all our plants and focuses on a wide range of planting plans.

Iona Hilleary

Iona trained at The Chelsea Physic Garden and The Inchbald School of Design. She has been designing gardens since 2001 and has worked all over the UK, from her Aberdeenshire homeland to the far south of England.

She was originally introduced to landscape design on a visit to Australia in 1988. A landscape architecture firm in Sydney, which shared offices with Saatchi and Saatchi, offered her work before starting university. Even now the overpowering smell of ammonia takes her back to that office in The Rocks where the plotting machines would spit out vast plans in sepia of corporate and civic sites. This was followed by studies in French and Russian at Bristol leading to journeys to the Russian Caucasus and Central Asia, and time spent in the Pyrenees. After her degree she revisited Australia for a year where she designed and made clothes for private clients.

Returning to the UK in 1993, Iona joined the City where she spent seven years as an investment banker. However, searching for more creative stimulus, she called time on that career and totally absorbed herself for two years re-training in landscape design.

Iona has always loved to travel; the untamed places, the wilderness, and the rhythms of landscape seen in both Scotland and Spain - countries in which she has grown up and knows well - have supplied the basis and continuing inspiration of raw form. Adjusting these rhythms to suit imposed design is where Iona has found her home in the context of landscape making.