Naomi Ferrett-Cohen is a Sussex based landscape and garden designer whose life-long love of the outdoors and gardening inspires her creativity. In 2018 she won a Silver-Gilt medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the design of the A Life Without Walls garden and she regularly contributes towards other show gardens around the UK.
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Much influenced by her landscaper father, from a young age Naomi has been a keen gardener. Since then, nature and gardening have formed the constant backdrop to her working and family life, whether pottering in her own garden or when she volunteered in the stunning and inspirational gardens at Parham House in West Sussex.
Before a career break to start a family, Naomi worked in the care sector with people with mental health problems and learning disabilities has a firm belief in the importance of horticulture for human wellbeing, both physical and psychological. Now with a family of her own, this interest extends into creating gardens for children and families, encouraging them into the garden together to explore and share what nature and horticulture has to offer.
Inevitably, Naomi was drawn to pursuing these interests as a career and, having attained her RHS Level II in Horticulture, went on to train with the London College of Garden Design, gaining a Garden Design Diploma in 2015 and a Planting Design Diploma in 2016, both with Distinction.
Now heading up her own Landscape and Garden Design Practice nestled at the foot of the South Downs in Sussex, Naomi continues to find inspiration in the nature around her, working on design projects large and small. Through her many contacts in the industry, Naomi has also been involved with Gold medal winning show gardens at RHS Hampton Court and recently won Silver-Gilt for her A Life Without Walls Garde
The Ardingly garden estate was a project of significant size. The client wanted a garden that was easy to maintain while also looking beautiful all year round. Going into the project, Naomi understood that large estates take time, care, and attention to blossom into pleasing landscapes. Through the proper planting methods and careful planning, Naomi worked to transform the Ardingly garden into a captivating space for the client to enjoy.
To find inspiration for this garden, Naomi drew on the natural environment around the property itself, as well as the client’s own requirements.The client was keen to implement deer proof planting to maintain the beauty of their garden, despite the wildlife challenges in such a large countryside location. They also wanted a garden in which to entertain guests that blended effortlessly with the surrounding environment. Naomi achieved all this and more with her thoughtful colour choices, plant combinations, and design features.
When Naomi first approached this project, the terrace house garden had not seen much attention in many years. It appeared rundown and in need of restoring. The owner wanted to create an oasis by filling the space with plants and having multiple sections within the long, thin garden.
Naomi created a beautiful urban garden space, with an area for eating near the house and another for entertaining at the sunny, eastern end of the garden. Drawing on her love of cottage style planting, she achieved the feel of a peaceful garden sanctuary. And to attract more interest, provided the addition of modern paving in the limited space.
The garden is a celebration of the NHS and the relentless care and support it and its staff have provided during the Coronavirus pandemic – nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, pharmacists, porters, technicians, and other unseen and unsung staff who keep the health service running. It recognises the collaboration between UK university researchers and NHS staff to find new treatments and vaccines to counter Coronavirus.
With its beautiful hardwood canopy, rills, pools and planting, the garden offers an immersive experience. Water represents the collective efforts of NHS staff and researchers pulling together, and is depicted through its exploration of the garden’s series of rills and pools. Warm earthy, apricot tones run through the planting, anchored by Acer griseum, Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’ and R. glauca.
In unison, the planting, hard landscaping and the gentle sound of water provides a safe space for reflection and contemplation, bringing optimism and hope of a brighter future. The message of the garden is that even in the testing times of isolation and lockdown we are all united by a common aim to support each other.
Naomi was excited to work with renowned HIV partnership, Cherub, at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. The garden she designed and built as a platform to help raise awareness about young people living with HIV in the UK and beyond. Naomi’s garden aimed to challenge stigmas and promote the message that it’s possible to live well with HIV, as well as highlighting the search for a cure through dedicated scientific research.
Naomi designed her debut garden with young people in mind, working in conjunction with children’s HIV charity CHIVA, which has offered advice and inspiration. Using over 1,000 plants, the key species included Acer Osakazuki, Acer Vitifolium, Acer Palmatum, Drimys winteri and Dicksonia antarctica, supplied by Hortus Loci Ltd. Other materials included composite stone for a white ‘pod’ structure, Welsh blue-grey slate and bamboo composite.
The garden was built by Burnham Landscaping and conceived by Professor John Frater, University of Oxford and Professor Sarah Fidler, Imperial College, London.
Naomi was really excited to receive a Silver-Gilt award from the RHS.