The Future of Gardens

In conversation with Juliet Sargeant a British garden designer who created the award winning Modern Slavery Garden

By Google Arts & Culture

Juliet Sargeant

JuIiet Sargeant - Garden Designer

Meet Juliet

In 2016 Juliet's anti-slavery garden: 'The Modern Slavery Garden' was the first show garden by a female black gardener at the Chelsea Flower Show where it won an RHS gold medal and was voted the winner in the BBC’s People’s Choice Award.

We caught up with her to discuss this seminal creation and ask what is the future of gardens?

Juliet Sargeant on 'The Future of Gardens'

Juliet tells us why we need gardens

Gold Medal winning Modern Slavery Garden (2016) by Juliet Sargeant

JS What is the Modern Slavery Garden
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What is The Modern Slavery Garden?

The Modern Slavery Garden is a conceptual garden to raise awareness around the issue of modern slavery to make people aware that this is going on.

Juliet Sargeant welcomes Teresa May to The Modern Slavery Garden by Juliet Sargeant

JS Why are gardens good for discussing contemporary issues
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Why are gardens good for discussing contemporary issues?

I like to think about what more can gardens bring to us? 

The Greeks used gardens almost as a classroom, as a place for thinking and debating. I think gardens can really help us express our ideas, creativity and stimulate discussion.

Friends get together in a rose garden by Matthew Thomas

JS How has gardening changed over time
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How has garden designed changed over time?

One of the biggest changes I've seen is a gradual democratisation of gardens. That gradual change of something that was for the few to something that is now for everybody.

A client enjoying a newly plated lavender field in Sussex

JS How has gardening been affected by lockdown and Covid
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How has lockdown and Covid impacted on gardens?

People have really switched onto their gardens and the enjoyment with getting involved with nature. I hope as our lives speed up agan, people will cling onto that 'me time' that people have discovered in their gardens.

SGD Sustainability Award Winning Garden by Juliet Sargeant

JS What is the future of gardens [1]
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What is the future of gardening and garden design?

The future of gardens is really, really exciting.

British gardens have been victim of our own success - so many people love British gardens, but that does mean that it is harder to change a winning formula. There is a danger it can get a little samey! 

A Sussex Garden by Matthew Thomas

JS What is the future of gardens [2]
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What is the future of gardening and garden design?

I shouldn't be able to imagine the future gardens, because they need to respond to what is going on in those times and respond to the culture, society and climate in 50-100 years.

I think we are ready to hand over the baton to the younger generation to keep them relevant.

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