5 minutes with … Paul Hervey-Brookes, Landscape Designer

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We’re back with our regular series of Q&As with friends, clients and ‘culture vultures’ we truly admire, to share what makes them tick in the colourful cultural landscape.

This time, we sat down with Paul Hervey-Brookes, designer of the Gold Medal Winning “Viking Cruises Wellness Garden” at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

  • One place everyone should visit? – Jerusalem, I think you can feel history and cultural forces which have shaped Europe from this spot
  • If you weren’t a Landscape Designer, you’d be…? – I love politics, and I feel that after an extraordinary era of peaceful existence we are entering a turbulent time, with many issues coming to head. For example, environment, technology, morals and ethics, that if I had chosen a different path, this one would be full of challenges.
  • What’s the one thing you never leave home without? – My little gold Smythson pencil. I always see or hear about a plant I would like and being old-school, a written note feels much more like a voyage of discovery!
  • If you had to choose one dish or drink to have for the rest of your life, what would it be – Drink would be a decent quality Smokey Earl Grey tea and to eat, Chicken Caesar Salad.
  • If you relocated for a year, where would you go? – I am torn between the Mediterranean sea and the French countryside. Wherever it is, I’d like to be able to speak very little so I could enjoy the sensation of being a hermit with such luxury!
  • What was the last film/theatre production/exhibition you saw? – The last exhibition was with my late husband, at the RA, Anselm Kiefer. I haven’t really felt the desire to see anything since as I miss our heated conversations and combined love of creative ideas.
  • Everyone needs to pay more attention to… – How they behave towards strangers. One day you may be the stranger. I think kindness is a gift we can give without cost.
  • Name a book you wish you’d written – The Cloud Atlas.
  • What’s your favourite London landmark? – Well I’m not sure it’s everyone’s type of landmark but it’s throughly British – the Bristol Motorcars showroom on Kensington High Street.
  • What are you looking forward to this year – Quite a lot. I have the privilege of being at RHS Chelsea and at RHS Chatsworth. I am also Chairman of Judging at the other RHS Shows so that is hugely exciting. I am also looking forward to a months escape I have planned for late summer.

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(Photo: The Viking Cruises Wellness Garden, which explores the three dimensions of wellness; eating well, living well, and the idea of balance brought about by interacting with the landscape and living in harmony with nature. It features a plunge pool and a sauna, reflective of the Nordic bathing ritual practiced in Scandinavian culture to detox, rejuvenate and enhance mindfulness)

The 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show is open until 26 May