New Book by Luciano Giubbilei: Nature and Human Intervention

25-10-2011 08-20-02

Nature and Human Intervention is Luciano Giubbilei’s second book. The book details the process behind the 2011 Laurent-Perrier Chelsea Flower Show gold-medal garden,a collaboration between three acclaimed artists-garden designer Luciano Giubbilei, architect Kengo Kuma,and sculptor Peter Randall-Page.

Captured in 250 colour photographs by Steve Wooster and Allan Pollock-Morris and essays by garden historian Kathryn Aalto,the book shows how artists, craftsmen, and suppliers worked together to expose, highlight, and craft beauty from Nature. “We return time and again to the comfortable vocabularies, images, sounds, memories, thoughts and feelings that constitute the boundaries of our experience and expression,”says Luciano  Giubbilei.“Yet every now and then, we encounter a breakthrough moment– a rare instant when the daunting constraints of possibility melt away and when we gain the courage to focus through new lenses.

”The book is published as a limited edition of 1000 numbered copies, of which only 500 copies are to be released to the general public. Retailing at £35.00 to purchase a copy please visit


Nature and Human Intervention

By garden designer Luciano Giubbilei.

Leading British sculptor Peter Randell-Page and Japanese architect Kengo Kuma contributed to the garden with a sensory bamboo pavilion and three commissioned sculptures.

The Laurent Perrier Garden Nature and Human Intervention by garden designer Luciano Giubbilei Chelsea Flower Show 2011

Divided into two distinct areas, one space evoked a calming and meditative mood, whilst contrasting with a more vibrant densely planted space. It was designed to create a romantic atmosphere, with colours varying between browns, bronze and soft pink, reflective of Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé champagne.

The Laurent Perrier Garden Nature and Human Intervention by garden designer Luciano Giubbilei Chelsea Flower Show 2011

Exploring the theme of “nature and human intervention”, the intention was to bring together both garden, art and architecture in a composition that reveals, complements and enhances a shared philosophy. The theme of the garden was conveyed by a strong design layout against a softer style of  planting. At one end was the pavilion, at the other is a densely planted, romantic and elegant space that frames the water and is designed to be walked through.

The Laurent Perrier Garden Nature and Human Intervention by garden designer Luciano Giubbilei Chelsea Flower Show 2011

The main structural planting consists of Parrotia persica, positioned to interact with each of the other elements in the garden. Parrotia persica’s twisted clear stems show both how nature creates beauty and the skill of the modern nurseryman in exposing it.

The Laurent Perrier Garden Nature and Human Intervention by garden designer Luciano Giubbilei Chelsea Flower Show 2011

The trees will provide interest throughout the year, with autumnal colour, the structural form and flowers in the winter, and glossy green foliage for the spring and summer. The Pinus mugo at the rear of the garden are planted on a backdrop of gravel, silhouetting the clipped cloud like form. Being an evergreen they will also provide winter interest.

The Laurent Perrier Garden Nature and Human Intervention by garden designer Luciano Giubbilei Chelsea Flower Show 2011

The composition of the flower scheme is designed to create a romantic atmosphere. The plants were selected for their colour combination, which predominately varies between browns, bronze and soft pinks.


Plants list  

Parrotia persica
Carpinus betulus
Flowers (Perennials - Victorian Pink)
Chaerophyllum hirsutum Roseum
Pimpinella major Rosea
Aconitum Pink Sensation
Astrantia Roma
Astrantia maxima
Astrantia Buckland
Digitalis × mertonensis
Papaver Patty's Plum
Papaver Royal Chocolate Distinction
Papaver Harlem
Papaver Manhattan
Nectaroscordum siculum
Salvia pratensis Lapis Lazuli
Salvia nemorosa Rose Queen
Salvia nemorosa Amethyst
Geranium phaeum
Iris germanica Quechee
Iris germanica Carnival Time
Iris germanica Sultan's Palace
Iris germanica Dutch Chocolate
Iris germanica Fortunate Son
Iris germanica Louvoir
Iris germanica Cable Car
Sanguisorba menziesii
Thalictrum aquilegifolium Thundercloud
Thalictrum aquilegifolium
Thalictrum Ellin
Thalictrum Black Stockings
Verbascum (Cotswold Group) Pink Domino
Verbascum Merlin
Verbascum Cherry Helen
Pinus mugo mops - Green cushion plants
Sanguisorba minor
Bupleurum longifolium sub. Aureum
Salvia pratensis Twilight
Papaver Lauren's Lilac
Verbascum Petra
Verbascum Valerie Grace
Verbascum Apricot Sunset
Salvia pratensis Rose Rhapsody
Panicum virgatum Rehbraun
Anthriscus sylvestris Ravenswing
Deschampsia cespitosa



6 Must See Garden Festivals for your 2012 Diary


Chaumont-sur-Loire - Garden Festival (April 22 to 16th October) This French show is probably one of the most exciting and query of all the festivals

Chelsea Flower Show (May 22-26) Relatively small but oh-so-smart, has now spawned its own Chelsea Fringe

Singapore Garden Festival (July 7-15) A biennial blockbuster majoring on spectacular orchids and top international designers.

Floriade (April 5-October 7) Held every 10 years in Venlo, Holland. An improving mix of environmental message and traditional commercial horticulture.

Philadelphia International Flower Show (March 4-11) Next year’s theme is Hawaii, the scale is vast and outstanding horticulturists flock here from all over the United States

Landesgartenschau Nagold (April 27-October 7) The Germans take gardening very seriously and this event is a must-see for anyone interested in new ideas about environmental design



Landscaping Quiz: 30 Landscape Design Terms You May Not of Heard of!

logo 1Test yourself to see how many of these landscape terms you are familiar with.

Keep a record of the number of terms you don’t know and find out at the end how much of an expert you are!


  • Arcade: a series of consecutive arches, including tree-lined walkways.
  • Baluster: a series of supporting vertical rail posts that form a balustrade, or the building's roofline surrounding the border of a staircase or porch.
  • Belvedere: a roofed open gallery, such as a gazebo, that commands a good view of the surrounding countryside.  
  • Cascade: water falls arranged in stages of succession, either through a rock formation or over a series of steps. . 
  • Espalier: a series of fruit trees that form a hedge in gardening landscaping.
  • Façade: the front of a building given special architectural treatment.
  • Festoon: a painted mural of leaves and ribbons that are separated between two points.
  • Folly: a garden building aimed at “fooling” the eye.
  • Glade: the open and grassy area, often surrounded by woods.
  • Grotto: an underground passage decorated with crystals, broken pieces of shells and mirror, and incorporates running water in pools and streams in order to promote a mysterious effect.
  • Guglio: an obelisk, often topped by a pyramid, which acts as a fountain.
  • Ha-ha: a sunk-in fence, or a ditch with identical sloping and vertical sides, often built into a retaining wall. The ha-ha serves as a barrier for sheep, cattle, and deer in order to allow an unbroken view of the surrounding landscape .
  • Herm: a statuesque head of a Grecian god, often placed on a square stone pillar.
  • Hermitage: a garden building intended as a hermit's living quarters. It serves to raise the appreciation for contemplation within the context of a natural setting.
  • Knot: a small, rectangular garden, created during Tudor times, which consists of intricate, geometric, knotted and sprawled out dwarf plants, including box and rosemary.
  • Loggia: an upper-level gallery and arcade located on the rooftop of a building.
  • Obelisk: an uppermost, four-sided, and tapered stone wall pillar within a pyramid, often inscribed or plain. Obelisks are located at the centre of a pool, near the crown of a hill or terrace walk.
  • Orangery: a building with multiple windows, often built with the intention of housing potted orange plants during the winter months.
  • Parapet: a protective wall or railing surrounding the edge of a walkway, embankment or rooftop.
  • Parterre: flower garden beds and paths designated to form a pattern similar to the design of an indoor Persian carpet.
  • Patte d'oie: radiating garden avenues, particularly named after a goose's foot.
  • Quincunx: the arrangement of five objects, including trees to form a rectangle. Each object is placed at the four corners with one remaining at the centre of the pattern.
  • Quoin: a series of consecutive stones laid at the exterior corns and angles of a building, and consists of contrasting material of that wall.
  • Rotunda: a circular or domed-shaped building or hall.
  • Rustication: the rough finish, either naturally or artificially created on blocks of masonry.
  • Theatre: a series of tiers or terraces along a hillside, which resembles the formation of outdoor seating in a classical theatre.
  • Tonsure: the shape of evergreen clippings.
  • Topiary: a garden trimmed and hedged into specific geometric or animistic formations.
  • Tufa: calcareous and siliceous deposits of fresh water sources, including rock composed of volcanic ash.
  • Vista: an extended view into the countryside.

How Many Didn’t you know?

More than 20: need further study

15-19: Average Knowledge

10-14: Good Landscape Knowledge

Less than 10: Expert….We’re not Worthy!

The Oxford College of Garden Design offers several short 4 week Design, Horticultural and Gardening courses as well as our Professional On-line Postgraduate Diploma Level Course

5 Golden Landscape Design Rules



Rule 1: The House is the Most Important Part of Any Garden.

You can’t ignore it! It’s almost always the largest, most dominant structure in the garden. Your journey starts and ends with the house and therefore any garden plan, should always start from the building and work outwards.

Rule 2: The Designers Main Objective is to Link Building with Site.

Probably the most important rule of all and yet the one that is least understood. This rule applies to any landscape scheme, whether residential or commercial. If the design is to be successful, then it must blend the building seamlessly into its environment. To achieve this, the designer needs to be able to combine symmetry with biology, i.e. architecture with landscape. Because most buildings are made from geometric shapes and the garden is essentially a biological environment, great care is needed to join these two opposing forms together. Try linking them too quickly and they will clash, creating a meaningless amorphous squiggle where the house looks like it’s just landed from space.


Rule 3 All shape close to the house should be Symmetrical.

This follows on from rule 2. Because the building is predominantly made up of straight lines based on squares and rectangles, the area around the building should copy these geometric, mathematical shapes to help link the house with the garden. The terraces, paths, formal pond and planting beds should be designed using straight lines.

If you don’t believe me, I will try to convince you by using an interior design analogy. “You would not put an amoebic shaped rug into a rectangular shaped room. Instead you would use a geometrical rug/carpet.” The same rules of interior design are just a relevant for outside design. The lawn is the carpet of the garden and the worst thing you can do, is to put a wiggly edged lawn into a rectangular shaped garden. Creating wiggles and squiggles won’t make your garden look natural. Nature makes it natural! As soon as you add planting to a straight edged border the plants grow and spill over and soften all the hard lines.

Sketch Plan colour

Rule 4 Use a Grid to help you Design.

Because you want your garden to link back to the house, it make sense to use shapes and pattern on your plan, that relate back to the scale and proportion of the building. “The Scale of the Grid is derived from the Mass of the Property”. Every grid is unique to site. This may in reality appear subliminal, but using a grid which is derived from the proportions and scale of the building means that all the patterns you use for the garden plan, relate directly back to the house and the grid also acts as a guide for the designer so they can quickly check size and scale of different features.

Sketch Plan

Rule 5 There are No Rules.

This isn’t strictly true because I have just given you a small sample of some. However you first need to understand the rules of geometry and design before you can break them. If we all stuck rigidly to rules, we would end up with some very dull design, but conversely, few universities and colleges give any clear guidance to design teaching, so that students graduate without a clear design philosophy.

At the Oxford College of Garden Design we run a professional On-line postgraduate level course and together with our sister site MyGardenSchool we also offer 4 week On-line short courses in all aspects of gardening. One of the main reasons our students have been so successful, is that we do teach a design philosophy by verbalising and explaining why something works and why something doesn’t.