Thought your book ´Power of Plants‘ Linda Lavoir say: In this book I take you into the wonderful world of plants and explain how valuable they are to you, me and all other life forms. I also discuss my way of thinking as a designer and give you the opportunity to get started in the garden yourself. I discuss various planting plans and planting techniques. In addition, the book contains filtered lists of strong and reliable flower bulbs, perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns and multi-stemmed trees. I hope to inspire both novice and advanced gardeners and other garden designers with this work.
Utopian Magazine: Tell me a bit more about how you.
Linda Lavoir: My name is Linda van de Lavoir, 32 years old and I am Dutch (although my surname is French). I studied landscape architecture at the art academy and immediately after my studies I started my own company. Because I was alone and didn’t have enough expertise to design large landscape projects, I started with designing smaller gardens. At the same time, I started my company, I also started an internship at a plant nursery to increase my plant knowledge. You don’t get to know plants from a book, but you do get to know them by working with them and looking at them every day. Working at a nursery has brought me a lot. I got to know the plants in no time and started designing with them. Working with nature is my favorite thing to do. You can be endlessly creative it.
What was your inspiration for this book?
It has never been my ambition to write a book, but in the period in which we now live, a green environment is becoming increasingly important. I’m designing 30 to 40 gardens a year, but this is never enough to improve a better world. With the book I would like to inspire people to green their gardens, so that we can work together on a green and thriving future. I don’t keep my knowledge as s secret, but I am happy to share it with everyone.
You have said, ‘Power of plans.’ What do you mean by that?
Plants are everything in our world. Literally all life forms on this earth depend on plants; people, animals, insects, fungi, bacteria. They ensure us with food, shelter, healthy soil, oxygen and so on. We simply cannot live without plants. And in addition to the fact that plants provide so much value, they are also beautiful to look at. And that’s where the gardening part starts.
Is the anticipation part of the joy of gardening? What are you looking forward to?
Gardening is fantastic and fascinating at the same time.
Do you approach designing public and private gardens differently?
Yes, totally. I always do a lot of research before I start a project. In the case of a garden, that research is of course very personal. What is the taste of the people? What do they like? How do they want to use the garden? With a public garden you are designing a place for 25, 1000 or 1000 people and you need to think bigger and more practical. This has a great influence on the choice of materials and plants you can choose.
Do you have rules for color combinations, mixing textures and using different heights and variations of species?
The nice thing about working with plants is that you can create all kinds of atmospheres. Depending on the style of garden you want to achieve, you can take color, texture and height into account. In every design I make I’m trying new combination.
Your approach to garden design considers all seasons. What’s important about designing a garden that can provide joy year-round and in all weathers?
There is beauty in every season. And a lot of life in the garden in every season. In the spring you have the flowers of the trees and the flowering bulbs. This is very important to the bumblebees, which awaken early in the spring in search of nectar. In the summer you have many perennials that bloom, the garden is at its best at this time. There will be many colors and insects.
In autumn you still have a lot of flowers blooming and the ornamental grasses are prominent. The trees are now changing colors. Autumn is my favorite time of year. I like the warm colors, the smell, the silhouettes of some flowers that stopped blooming a time ago. There is a lot of change in this period and you can feel it in the air. Spiders will make the most amazing webs and when you look in the sky you will see birds leaving south. It’s all part of nature, also in the garden.
A lot of people don’t like winter times. But still in this period of time, the garden can look beautiful. we used to make sure the garden looked tidy and neat in the winter. in the natural garden you leave all the plants, so that the insects can overwinter in the garden.
Your designs are always very natural and unconstrained. How much is down to nature and how much is down to you?
in my designs I am always looking for the right balance between man and nature. we share the garden, or a park, with birds, bees, hedgehogs and other small mammals. nature is their home. I always try to keep the designs simplistic, so that the planting comes out even better.
Did you have any gardeners or designs that influenced you when you were a young designer?
Piet Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer, is the one who has always inspired me. otherwise I don’t look much at colleagues, but I get my inspiration from other areas of expertise such as that of Iris van herpen, some interior designers or artists or other interesting people.
How do you feel about letting the garden go to the public now? Are you protective of your gardens, are they like your babies?
as long as everyone treats the gardens with respect, I think it’s just fantastic that people come to see them. The more the better!
How do you want people to feel after spending time in one of your gardens?
what a nice question. I would like people to sit in the garden and just ‘do nothing’. looking at the beauty of the plants and all the good-natured hum. they should become very Zen and enjoy the simple life. you don’t need much to be happy. Just a garden 😉
What advice would you give to a young designer who follow Utopian?
follow your heart. try to learn something new every day and always stay curious. learn to listen to your own feelings and not to those of others. when you believe in yourself you will always make something beautiful.