Emily Barnes

Garden Designer, Project Lead & Plant Specialist

My role includes consulting, creating, and bringing to life gorgeous garden design concepts and planting schemes.

I’m an aesthetically obsessive person who loves the detail. My professional journey began in decorative arts and graphic design but after spending much of my free time in the garden, I retrained in Horticulture to become a garden designer which combined two of my greatest passions – plants and design. I feel very lucky to have discovered a calling that has the ability to enrich lives with the outdoor spaces we design and create at Bestall & Co. Of the many things I love about garden design, the most important one for me is the power it has to connect and ground us to nature and the positive impact a garden can bring to our hectic modern lives. Humans have evolved with an inbuilt biophilic response to the natural world. Being immersed in planting in a beautiful outdoor space is so good for mind, body and soul. It is also very nice to look at through the window!

My hobbies and interests revolve around a desire to create a simple life focusing on nature, health, wellbeing and travel. These include gardening and growing, art, hiking, wild swimming and exploring new places. I’m always on the hunt for inspiration and my dream is to visit a wide variety of natural landscapes, gardens and cultures around the world.

If I wasn’t a garden designer, I would most likely be a floral artist or own a cute B&B by the sea.

If money were no object, after traveling the world, I would settle down at the coast to set about converting an old farm or estate into a wellbeing retreat complete with workshops, plant nursery, sustainable and immersive gardens, a natural swimming pond and large expanses of wild areas with a collection of animals.

If I had to list only three desert island essentials, they would be fishing tackle, a boat (with motor and fuel) and lots of drinking water.

If I could choose anyone to play me in a film of my life it would be Emma Watson, whom I admire for her work on women’s rights and her unapologetic sense of self.

I very much hope we will meet one day to discuss all things garden and plants, but until then I will leave you with a joke and some plant trivia.

What did 0 say to 8? – “Hey, nice belt!”

Hydrangea, Hellebore and Cornus kousa are widely grown for their long-lasting, showy flowers which are actually not flowers botanically speaking, but modified leaves called bracts. They have the same function as a petal – acting as a homing-beacon to attract pollinating insects. If you look closely, you will see the actual flowers are tiny and quite insignificant, grouped together in the centre. The bracts last much longer than petals and go through some wonderful colour changes as they age.