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 with four commendations so far.
- 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. Mentored by Monty Don over the course of a year 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 deserts 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Latest posts by Jack Wallington (see all)
- Pot’s Growing On: experimenting with tender plants outside - December 9, 2018
- Grow your own, change YOUR world - December 3, 2018
- Mossy Rock (part three) - November 30, 2018