Discover our Garden Lab with Peter Beardsley
We talk to Landscape Designer, Peter Beardsley, about how to plan appropriately for the extreme conditions on deck.
Who are you and what is your role on SEE MONSTER?
I am a landscape designer with twenty years’ experience in garden design, landscape design, and a dash of showmanship. I spent seven years as a protege of Dan Pearson Studio to become his Senior Designer on notable public and private projects in the UK and abroad.
Independently, I now maintain that mix and include novel projects where the rules sometimes turn on their head. These align with the role of greensman and require a high level of ingenuity and a very condensed program for film and events. I have landed English country house gardens on the Griffith Observatory, put a cherry forest inside Tate Modern, and made gardens in Dubai and Moscow.
SEE MONSTER is a particularly special adventure in plantsmanship and sorcery…
What trees will you place on SEE MONSTER?
Seafarers only! This is extreme. Salt. Wind. Maximum UV. Exposed. Translocated…. it’s a tough gig. Holm oaks are the stalwart champions with lesser shrubs hunkering low to the ground. So we are following this example but taking some short-term risks with a diverse selection of trees that will fight the winds and storms. We have named our very top spots the crow’s nests!
What do you have to take into account when planning a garden like this?
Silhouette is really important and we want to express a shape that bristles in the way a natural island would be colonised; often top heavy. We have sought out mostly naturalistic shapes and even some with added windswept appearance and twisted form. Scale is important too, so we are craning in some extra large trees which reach eight metres in height.
the basic recipe so far is 50 semi-mature trees and shrubs, 100 hedgerow natives, 500 hardy shrubs, 1000 perennials & grasses. Just add sunlight & water…
Would you be able to plant any tree on SEE MONSTER?
No way. It’s the wind and salt and the southwest aspect. The Severn Estuary is a natural funnel turned to the mid-Atlantic so when she blows, she sure blows… At the last minute many of our selected evergreen oaks have been embargoed to limit the creep of oak processionary moth. So we have had to make a swerve. Even invading insects have an influence on getting our SEE MONSTER clothed.
How many plants will there be?
It’s a never-ending juggle but the basic recipe so far is 50 semi-mature trees and shrubs, 100 hedgerow natives, 500 hardy shrubs, 1000 perennials & grasses. Just add sunlight & water…