CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Berkshire Life today CLICK HERE

Jez Stamp: A garden star for the future

PUBLISHED: 11:35 31 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:36 31 March 2014

Jez taking a closer look at an Acer caudatifolium

Jez taking a closer look at an Acer caudatifolium

Naomi Slade

Our local gardeners can reach for the heights, and Jez Stamp has every reason to look up – and look forward to a great career, says Naomi Slade

Japanese garden with koi-pondsJapanese garden with koi-ponds

There is nothing like going on a garden visit with a fellow plant-nut, so when given the chance to interview Jez Stamp, the Institute of Horticulture Young Horticulturist of the Year 2013, at Harcourt Arboretum in Oxfordshire, I jumped at it.

Growing up near Newbury, Jez was a regular visitor to the arboretum and it has informed his interest in plants ever since. “I always think that woody plants are underused in design,” he says, pausing by a handsome Acer caudatifolium. “I mean, look at this. It is light and airy with an open canopy and it has a lovely, buttery autumn colour. It is similar in leaf shape to Carpinus japonica not in its stature but in effect; it is very graceful.”

In addition to trouncing other young horticulturists in competition, RHS-qualified Jez has worked in nurseries, held a role as a TV researcher for BBC Gardeners’ World and travelled all over the world to study plants. He is now an expert gardener for BBC Radio Bristol and runs his own design and landscaping enterprise.

A well-designed mixed border or summer swathe of perennials offers the pleasure of planting on a plate. But, for Jez, mature designed gardens and woodlands such as arboreta are clearly a very different beast.

“In arboreta you have to work harder. See the inner beauty of the plants; it is gardening at a slower pace,” he says. “With these trees you plant them relatively small and it takes time to get the effect. I admire what show gardens can achieve, but this is a side of things that people don’t think about: how big a plant will be and how much space it will ultimately take up. That takes real skill.”

Deep in the peaceful woods, among the towering pillars, we chat endlessly about his travels and the plants we have both grown, while he peppers the conversation with passing titbits about the trees and shrubs. I make a note of his recommendation that Prunus rufa knocks the socks off Prunus serrula, and discover that Incense cedar, Calocedrus decurrens, is used to make pencils. Even at this time of year the trees are showing a huge variety of colours and bark textures.

Between expressing excitement that he can plant things his grandchildren will see and a short diversion on laying native hedging, Jez pauses; “It is a shame that the plant collecting has been done. I always think I should have been born 200 years ago!”

About Jez Stamp

Jez grew up in Ecchinswell village and attended The Clere School in Burghclere. Both his parents are keen gardeners, interested particularly in self-sufficiency, and he has uncles working in landscaping. He studied at Merrist Wood, Berkshire College of Agriculture and Pickard School of Garden Design, gaining an HND in landscape design and winning the Anne Menhinick Prize for best score for under-30s in the RHS certificate. Jez says he was ‘instantly hooked’ after starting work at Penwood Nurseries in Newbury where he was able to propagate and grow rare and unusual hardy nursery stock. | |


More from Homes & Gardens

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We peek inside wildlife painter Catherine Ingleby’s Shurlock Row home, which she has transformed from a dated 70s relic into a colourful hive of creativity

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Autumn is a great time for planning ahead. Here Naomi Slade brings you her top picks for fabulous fragrance

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The only limit to what you can achieve when redesigning your home is your imagination. Award-winning interior designer Nicola Scannell tells us what she loves most about working on properties in Berkshire

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

If you’re heading to one of the UK’s many festivals this summer, the chances are you’ll be having a sneaky peak in local estate agents’ windows to see how much it would cost to live there all year round.

Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Wokingham furniture designer recalls the moment he decided to tell his wife – and mother of their two young children – that his commuting days were coming to an end

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Friday, May 25, 2018

Sue Broughton is looking forward to her second spring as the Head Gardener at Englefield Gardens, which are open to visitors every Monday and are available for weddings and corporate events. She tells Fran McElhone what it takes to maintain the 400-year-old garden

Read more
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Five A Day project provides a welcome boost for healthy eating and those who lovingly grow the produce and flowers

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Add colour to your garden now with the top flowers of March and this season will be all the brighter

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Houseplants are a hot interior trend at the moment and can completely transform a room - but they have their downsides! Gardener and broadcaster Toby Buckland delivers his expert advice

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Berkshire Life weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Property Search