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Penelope Hobhouse

Penelope Hobhouse (1929- ) is a garden designer, consultant, historian, writer, lecturer and recipient of both the RHS’ prestigious Victoria Medal of Honour and the UK Society of Garden Designers’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born Penelope Chichester-Clark in Moyola Park, Castledawson, Northern Ireland, Hobhouse began by writing about gardening after designing, working in, and caring for some of the most highly praised gardens in the UK. First at Hadspen House in Somerset, (now The Newt) owned by her first husband’s family, and then at Tintinhull, owned by the National Trust.

Since her first book, The Country Gardener in 1976 Hobhouse has built a global reputation designing gardens across Europe and the USA, a reputation bolstered by numerous appearances at horticultural clubs, universities, groups and gardens giving talks on a wide range of subjects across the world. She has curated exhibitions at the Chicago Botanical Garden and the New York Botanical Garden and arranged garden tours including around the subjects of Rennaissance and Paradise gardens.

Here Hobhouse discusses her inspiration and approach to gardening and garden design, the impact of landscape on her work and the need for refuge that a garden can bring.