About me

I am an RHS qualified garden designer based in Clapham, south London. I specialise in contemporary gardens with unique planting. If you would like me to design your garden, please do contact me for a chat. 

Garden design experience

  • Studied with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to achieve the RHS Certificate in Horticulture (with a full set of eight commendations). Now mid way through RHS Level 3.
  • A creative director living in Clapham, London with a long career in digital publishing and an expert project manager.
  • In 2015 our garden was documented on BBC’s Big Dreams, Small Spaces. Helped by Monty Don we turned our patio into a lush tropical oasis and conducted major renovations on our flat to open the house up, creating a contemporary indoor/outdoor living space.
  • I studied design at school and have studied art on and off throughout my life, as well as designing websites and brand design professionally.
  • From the age of five I have grown a huge variety of plants, from carnivorous plants to cacti, vegetables and fruit, to many ornamental flowers and foliage plants.
  • I’ve travelled the world to see plants in their natural habitat, whether tree ferns in New Zealand, the hardiest plants of Alaska, to cacti in the desserts of Egypt and California.

My garden design story

I live in Clapham, London and have worked in digital publishing and marketing for over fifteen years (and still do). In November 2013 my partner Chris and I, with our cat Rumbles in tow, bought our flat near Clapham Old Town complete with minuscule urban garden.

Jack Wallington
Buying flowers at Columbia Road Flower Market

Since that day my childhood obsession with plants, art and design has been let out of a fifteen year long bottle – I literally exploded out and dived back into a compost heap hands first and I’m never looking back again.

Why I am obsessed with plants

In the 1980’s, the Wallington family grew up in the Buckinghamshire countryside in a tiny idyllic thatch cottage. A short walk from the Prime Minister’s Chequers estate and the residence of actor Sir David Jason.

Jack Wallington, childhood home
Visiting my childhood home in Buckinghamshire in 2014 (the cream cottage on the left)

Surrounded by the rolling Chiltern Hills, smothered in wild flowers, woodland, farm crops and wild animals, it was a beautiful place to grow up. On a recent visit after more than a decade gap, it’s only in adulthood I realise just how magical a spot it is.

The view I grew up loving
The view I grew up with

My parents loved the house and stuffed the small cottage garden full of beautiful plants, mainly with flowers. Growing up we also had more pets than I can remember, it was more like a tiny farm: cats, dogs, budgerigars, love birds, rabbits, fish, chickens, ducks, even a horse (not ours) in the neighbouring field and some terrapins.

I wasn’t particularly successful as a young lad at keeping the animals alive… but the plants thrived! At the age of nine, my granddad received a small bonus and gave it straight to me and my siblings. My bouffant toting younger self was, to everyone’s amazement, adamant I wanted a greenhouse.

This resulted in a sea of cacti, nasturtiums and vegetables. Simply, there’s something I find fascinating seeing plants grow and I love the look of fresh new growth. It’s constantly changing which makes me happy.

My parents recently found this photo of me as a boy in my greenhouse with some of my cacti collection
My parents recently found this photo of me as a boy in my greenhouse with some of my cacti collection

University, work and London life distracted me from growing anything bar the odd house plant – I’ve always had some on the go. Now though, with our own little plot, plants are back in my life big time. And I’m never letting them back out. Only Rumbles seems to like our garden more than me, especially at 5am when we’re trying to sleep!

Littlebury and a new beginning

We’ve lived in our house in Clapham since 2008, it is our first home together. Rented off of Julie and David Evans for five years before we nervously put in an offer to buy for ourselves what had become to feel like our home. Julie and David, to our delight, agreed and in November 2013 it became our home officially.

Rumbles modelling the garden back in November 2012
Rumbles modelling the garden back in November 2012

Since the day we moved in as renters, we  fell in love with our tiny little plot, and in the summer, the garden was always a little haven in the city. I feel incredibly lazy now and a bit embarrassed given how much effort our neighbours put into it, but as renters we did nothing to the garden. To touch it felt too permanent when we might at any time have to leave.

Now we’re officially here to stay though, we’re laying down roots in every sense. In December 2013, we hopped on a train to Wandsworth and bought our first two shrubs (two Viburnum tinus standards for winter flowering). This was the beginning and the moment my childhood interest returned.

Experiments: the first year was about trying things out and absorbing as much information as possible
Experiments: the first summer (2014) was about trying things out and absorbing as much information as possible. Very little of it worked but it was lots of fun experimenting!

Big Dreams, Small Spaces

By 2015 my love of garden design was bordering on obsession and we were lucky enough to be selected by Monty Don to take part in his BBC programme, Big Dreams, Small Spaces. It documented us transforming our garden into a Victorian Botanist’s tropical wonderland. It really was a dream come true and you can read all about it here.

Jack Wallington Clapham, Big Dreams Small Spaces

Thanks for reading this far and I hope you come back to see how our Clapham urban garden evolves over the coming years. The blog on this site is a record for myself of what I’ve been doing and I’ll be sharing what I learn as well, so hopefully it will be useful for any random visitors who land here.

If you’re interested in plants and garden design too, please follow me on Twitter and get in touch! I’m always looking for gardens to design and other people to talk to about plants.

Jack Wallington

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Hey Jack! Just getting into the wonders of gardening myself and I stumbled across your insightful blog online! Hope all good with you guys and your gardens keeping you busy! Have fun! Alison x

    1. Hey Alison! Ooh, I’m glad I’m not the only one 🙂 Please let me know how you’re getting on, I’d love to share tips and ideas because I’m learning as I go at the moment. All good here, the garden has helped give me a focus at the moment. Hope you are well too xx

  2. Although I now live in a tiny village in Northumberland with beautiful country views I grew up in a terraced house in Wandsworth with a small back garden – I think that’s one of the reasons I am so impressed with your efforts 🙂

    1. That’s interesting to know you used to live nearby, thanks Patricia. It’s a great area around here, I just hope more people enjoy doing things to their gardens and help liven up the place 🙂

  3. Hi Jack,
    I was really impressed by the garden you and Chris created,that was featured on the Monty Don programme and I am very much enjoying your blog.
    I was really impressed by how much you managed to pack into a relatively small space. I particularly like your fern wall, so much so that I got my husband to make me one (based on the one your Dad made for your garden) for a shady area of our garden but I’m having difficulty tracking down some of the ferns you have listed.
    Did you source them from a particular garden centre, wholesaler or website or did you find them individually in lots of different places?
    Kind regards, Jane

    1. Hi Jane,
      Thanks for the lovely comments and that’s great that you built a fern wall too! The more fern walls the better IMO 🙂
      I sourced the ferns from all over the place. If you download this file and scroll down, you can find all of the nurseries I bought them from – I think all have online delivery: http://www.jackwallington.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Big-Dreams-Plant-List.xlsx
      I would recommend avoiding ferns like Athyriums and real moisture lovers though, they become a real pain to keep watered.
      Good luck and please do stay in touch as we would love to know how you get on.
      Jack

  4. Hi Jack
    I an studying my family history and came across your site, its a good read. However, as many of my ancestors came from the Bucks/Herts area I am interested in your parents etc.

    Can you help?

    Thanks

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landscape and garden design in Clapham, London