Competition Time! Searching for Paradise at the Gardens Illustrated Festival January 5, 2017 16:24

Tom Stuart Smith's beautiful garden designsThe idea of a garden being a little slice of paradise is as old as time itself. "Sanctuary", "therapy", "heaven" - just three words that came up during a recent conversation I had with friends about the feeling you get when you are out in the garden. The thing is, we couldn't quite put our finger on why we adorn our respective gardens with such accolades.

A week later, I'm still mulling it over. My garden is not pristine affair and yet to me, it has little areas of glory here and there. My 'white corner'; homage to a certain v. well known garden, is a little bed of pure white and lush green. Then there are the 'sniffy seats' - a well placed set of balcony deckchairs that loiter under a fragrant canopy of wisteria, mock orange and jasmine in the spring / summer - perfect for sitting and literally 'breathing it in'. Even the damp, dark, shady areas are gorgeous little hollows, teeming with frogs and toads. 

To be honest, I don't even have to be in my own garden to get that sense of peace and happiness. I'll happily wander around an RHS garden or NGS open day and experience the same good vibe. 

So, what is it about a garden that elicits such a connection to the concept of paradise? How has it come to define our own little plots and patches of earth? 

Renowned garden designer Tom Stuart Smith is reflecting on the idea of paradise and the influence it has had over his diverse body of work at the Gardens Illustrated Festival this year. The lecture, taking place on Saturday 25th March, is part of an inspiring programme of talks planned for the two day Festival in Tetbury, Cotswolds. We are delighted to have a pair of tickets for Tom's talk up for grabs for one of our readers. (BTW: The Festival takes place on the same weekend as Mothering Sunday - serious brownie points on offer!)

To enter, simply post a photo of your own garden paradise to our Facebook Page, along with a brief overview of why it is so special. It can be your garden, a garden you visit and love, or just that perfect little spot on the patio. If you prefer, you can send your entry to us by emailing Entrants must be 18 or over and the deadline for the competition is Friday 3rd February. The winner will be announced on Monday 6th February. A full set of the competition terms and conditions can be viewed here. Good luck! 

*Image source: Tom Stuart Smith Ltd.