Healing the earth and soothing the soul

“Gardens can need healing on many levels….the problem can be just neglect or there is a fundamental lack of balance or flow which indicates some kind of re-design is necessary.   Any garden that does not sing  as it should  stands out a mile to me .  It does not soothe. To heal it I find that combining horticultural knowledge and experience with an intuitive sense of the spirit of place works well.”


Greenspirit Gardens is the nom-de-plume of Poppy Mercer, a garden designer and plantswoman based in Highgate,  London.

Poppy started her garden career at her Majesties pleasure in Regents Park and Eltham Palace back the 1990’s.

It was a  training based on a Victorian syllabus – which assumed you would have to manage a large single garden over a reasonable period of time. (at least until the Edwardian age, perhaps).  Having graduated (with distinction)  she  left the gilded cage of the royal park and entered the real  commercial world  – which  at the time was  a whirl of ” instant” gardens as pioneered by tv programmes like Ground Force.

Proper  gardening,  in the way she was taught, was no longer in vogue.  Stylish designs were  all the mattered,  and any longevity was consigned to tidy-up options in the form of ‘maintenance contracts’.  

The slow, long view did not exist….

After installing well over a hundred ‘instant’ gardens of her own,  Poppy  was eventually able to manoeuvre back to what she loves – a single garden, or maybe two in parallel,  where  things can be  done properly and at the right time, – and  perhaps where a sympatico  client might be enticed  into  the Gertrude  Jekyll confections of a  previous age.

Yes that magic era of shimmering herbaceous borders when the bees and butterflies dance in paradise!  

This  typical project of hers in Highgate  has been ongoing since 2011 despite a change of owners.

A  walk round my current garden