Jill Sinclair

About Jill Sinclair

Jill is a British landscape historian, based these days in New Delhi. She studied landscape design and history at Harvard, completed a Masters in garden design at the Inchbald School in London, and lived and worked for a number of years in Paris. Her first book was published by the MIT Press on a historic landscape in Massachusetts, and she now researches, writes about and lectures on designed landscapes across three continents. Follow her blog at Landscape Lover

Book review: House of Plants

This charmingly idiosyncratic book seeks to enthuse its readers about the humble houseplant. Its arrival on my desk was perfect timing: as a landscape historian and fervently keen gardener, I have increasingly been wondering why my house is not full of beautiful, healthy plants. Some potted herbs in the kitchen and a dusty gloxinia upstairs are about all I can currently muster. So I was delighted to dip into this passionate, personal account of the wonders of indoor gardening. Continue reading

Dan Pearson’s Chelsea garden comes home to Chatsworth

Dan Pearson is something of a phenomenon as a garden designer. When he first appeared on British television in his late 20s, his chiselled cheekbones, floppy curls and focus on naturalistic planting marked him out from the jolly middle-aged men who then presented garden TV programmes, with their interest in chemical sprays and pelargonium cuttings. Continue reading

Anglo-chinois gardens

It can be hard to grasp the shift in France from the great classical, geometric gardens of Le Nôtre and his followers to the so-called anglo-chinois style which swept the country in the years leading up to the French revolution. It is possible to write at length and with some pretension (as I have done) about Republicanism and Romanticism, Chambers and Rousseau, to try and tease out the evolution from one to the other. Continue reading

Review: Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens

“Garden of the Year” is a strange award, and one that for me has led to disappointment and even bafflement. So I am delighted to present a guest post, originally from my blog landscapelover, about Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens, which were chosen as the Historic Houses Association/Christie’s Garden of the Year in 2012. The reviewer is Jacqui Compton…. Continue reading

Garden review: Anne Wareham’s ‘Veddw’

Veddw is a modern garden, laid out among the gentle hills of the Welsh borders. It has an unusual genesis: not a plantswoman’s garden, not a gardener’s garden. Instead, its creator, Anne Wareham, was driven by a fascination with the garden as art form. With her photographer husband Charles Hawes, Anne has spent 25 years developing Veddw from meadowland. Continue reading

Garden Review – West Green House

Redoubtable is a word that easily comes to mind when seeking to describe Marylyn Abbott. In her native Australia, she was for many years marketing manager for the Sydney Opera House and developed the garden at Kennerton Green in New South Wales. Under her tenure, it was the most visited garden in the country. Continue reading

Restoring the unique Mughal gardens of Kashmir

One of the best and most beautiful expressions of Mughal culture is its gardens. Sadly, few examples survive, but among the finest are the terraced gardens in the Kashmir valley. On a visit earlier this month I saw how these exquisite sites are being restored to something approaching their seventeenth-century glory. Continue reading

Of spice and tea

As someone who came to the study of landscape history from a love of flowers and gardening, I write surprisingly little about horticulture. So, to make amends, this whole post is about some of the plants we saw on our recent trip to the southern Indian state of Kerala. Continue reading

The secret Rock Garden at Chandigarh, India

It started in 1965 as an illegal development on protected forest land. Its creator was inspired by Le Corbusier’s use of concrete in the city of Chandigarh, yet what he produced is folk art that stands in extraordinary contrast to Corbusier’s modernist city. For the first ten years of its life, it was entirely secret, its existence known only to the lowly government worker who was behind its painstaking creation. Today it hosts thousands of paying visitors every day, and the site and its creator receive countless awards and regular international press coverage. Continue reading