Veitch Memorial Medal
The Royal Horticultural Society conferred the Veitch Memorial Medal upon our joint-patron, Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd ‘in recognition of her outstanding work in horticulture’.
Lennox – Boyd
In a career spanning over 30 years she has undertaken 400 commissions all over the world, ranging from small town gardens to large historic landscapes. Her client list includes Sting, Sir Terence Conran, the Duke of Westminster and Queen Paola of Belgium. The family home is Gresgarth Hall near Lancaster, a gothic mansion which is both romantic in style and romantically situated, tucked into a curve of the fast-flowing Arkle beck. It has become the canvas on which the garden designer practises her art, and demonstrates her skill and imagination.
Born in Rome as Arabella Parisi, she is the grand-daughter of General Armando Diaz, 1st Duke della Vittoria. On coming to England she studied Landscape Architecture at Thames Polytechnic, now part of the University of Greenwich. She is married to Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd who was knighted in 1994, and both their daughters are artists. In 2003 the University of Greenwich awarded her an honorary degree, Doctor of Design. Her clients Sting and Trudi Styler responded:
Thanks to Arabella we are lucky to enjoy 2 stunning gardens, in Wiltshire and Tuscany, to which she has brought her unique landscape design talent. Arabella has an instimctive brilliance at determining the feel of a place. She creates wonderful gardens which flow together in lovely lines, yet are full of secret corners and hidden surprises. Her passion for, and knowledge of, trees, plants and flowers (with a particular gift for balancing the most glorious palettes of colours) and her unceasing search for exactly the right varieties are the mark of the true perfectionist she is. Best of all, Arabella’s hard work leaves a lasting legacy of beauty for the future.
Stephen Lacey, garden correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, interviewed her in 2008, on her return to Chelsea competition after an absence of 8 years. About her early influences, she said that it was an encounter with Nancy Lancaster, the formidable interior designer and creator of Haseley Court, Oxford, that finally helped to crystallise her style.
She came to visit my garden and asked why I wasn’t using any clipped box as an architectural feature. I had shut my mind to dull Italian gardens for so long that I had forgotten about formality. She invited me to Haseley Court and I realised there what an elegant sort of garden came from combining formality with voluptuous planting.
The hallmark of her designs for the Chelsea show are just such a combination. A strong skeleton of stonework, geometric water features and evergreens are filled and decorated with a sumptuous overlay of rich colour, texture and forms of flowers and foliage.