Gardens Old and New
Tuesday 13 April 2021, 6pm-7pm, via Zoom
Gardens Old and New appeared at the end of a century in which styles for architectural expression seemed uncertain. Gothic Revival jostled with the Neo-classical, the Jacobethan with the Italianate. Gardens followed suit until the Arts and Crafts movement emerged to become a functionally versatile approach to both home and garden-making and suitable for gardens large and small. In some respects, its principles still persist.
Today, whatever the designer’s vision and skill with plants and materials, the context of the work is all-important. This encompasses not only the Client’s agenda but also the site and its characteristics, not only the immediate history of the site but also the historical context, which often shines a light on the reasoning behind the form we have inherited. The development of gardens over the nineteenth century and through the Arts and Crafts period is incredibly rich with wonderful artists, designers and contractors involved, mostly unassuming and generous with their time and knowledge. This talk will explore the context and people that led up to and gave shape to the Arts and Crafts Garden – and, how, as the Movement gave way to Modernism in public architecture, its principles remained strong particularly in private domestic work.
Michael Balston is the Senior Director of Balston Agius, and founded the original Practice of Balston & Company in 1983. He studied architecture at Cambridge University, qualifying as an architect in the early 1970s. He then further qualified as a landscape architect and worked on several public buildings projects in the UK and Saudi Arabia. From 1978, he focused on private gardens and since moving to Wiltshire in 1983, he has run his own practice, operating from converted farm buildings within a large garden that he created from scratch.
Michael completed a 10-year term as a member of the Council of the RHS, and during this time he was Chairman of the Show Gardens Panel, a member of the Shows Committee and the Gardens Committee. For the period he was on Council, he was much involved in Shows development and the Master Planning of the Society’s four gardens. Following the completion of this tenure, he was appointed a Vice President of the RHS. Also for many years Michael served on the Europa Nostra Awards Panel and was also a member of the Landscape Working Group.
Besides writing for magazines, Michael has written the influential book ‘The Well Furnished Garden’, followed by ‘Ten Landscapes’ – edited by James Grayson Trulove, which features examples of his design work. Michael also lectures on Garden Design both in the UK and internationally.