Penelope Hobhouse

Penelope Hobhouse awarded SGD Lifetime Achievement Award 2020

The garden designer has won the Society of Garden Designer's highest accolade

Garden designer and plantswoman Penelope Hobhouse has been awarded the Society of Garden Designers Lifetime Achievement Award.

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The Newt in Somerset

The award, which is gifted by the Council of the Society of Garden Designer, is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape and garden design profession.

Hobhouse’s gardening background has taken her to gardens throughout the UK and beyond, including in Hadspen House in Somerset, Tintinhull and Bettiscombe in Dorset.

When asked about her work, she said:  “History is particularly interesting to me, I do love compartmental gardens, like Italian gardens but I do love the open, grander landscapes because they move you in a different way…If you get the architecture right, you can fill it with the plants you love.”

She added: “I was proud when I did The Queen Mother’s garden… that was one thing I enjoyed.”

What Hobhouse calls her ‘last garden’ is her own home garden, an exuberant mix of cottage-style planting. “When I came here at 83, I knew this was going to be my last garden, so I decided to do it just for me. Me, and the cat.”

SGD chair, Sarah Morgan said: “Penelope Hobhouse has influenced and inspired garden design for decades through her plantsmanship, design and writing. Self-trained in practical horticulture and design she nevertheless forged a hugely successful career, thanks to her love and knowledge of plants and instinctive design talent.”

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Hobhouse said: “I think I am very lucky people remember me at all, I am absolutely thrilled to be winning the award and I thought – life’s beginning again!”