a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 69

design district

Anne Talbot-Kelly BY CHRIS WESTAWAY – VANCOUVER, BC

I didn’t want to get Freudian immediately upon meeting Anne Talbot-Kelly, but I had to. To figure out what made her tick, I had to go deeper than just asking about her process, or how she got started in landscape design, or any of those questions that are informative enough but don’t really help you know a person beyond the surface. I asked her about her earliest memory. Her face registered surprise for a fleeting instant before she answered with absolute certainty – an arabis plant. The dense bloom of white flowers and their fragrance left a deep impression on her. Not just the plant, but “the way my mom used to hide Easter eggs inside it,” she added. It’s not just about the appearance of the plants; it’s about creating a memory. Her childhood was rich with memories like this. Her parents had an “abundant” vegetable garden, her grandparents were “rose freaks,” and from the library she exclusively checked out books about baking and flowers. Talbot-Kelly came to the landscape design world at the age of 27, having already worked as a geologist’s assistant, a tree-planter, a cook on a boat and a hairdresser. “Hairdressing didn’t work for me because I didn’t particularly like staying inside.” She decided a career class might help her find her niche, but after several weeks she was still no closer. Finally, the instructor posed the question, ‘what would you be doing if you weren’t here right now?’

“I’d probably be at home rearranging my neighbours garden,” she replied. The instructor then recited a poem by the great William Blake: “To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” This is now printed on the back of her business cards. Talbot-Kelly is accommodating to her clients, but her personal preferences in design are uncompromising. “I could never live in a place that has a formal, manicured garden. It makes me feel like I can’t touch anything.” She is emphatic about protecting our environment and vehemently against the use of chemical control applications. When we talk about her creative process, she mentions the children’s book Something from Nothing; for her, it’s a credo. She tells me about a project she worked on as a barter.“They couldn’t afford any new garden purchases after a big house reno and I needed a website, so we made a deal.” Using reclaimed chimney bricks for a driveway and old windows for a greenhouse, she “re-cycled, re-purposed and removed” plants and objects (with the help of friends and ‘free’ listings online) to create a truly unique space. “Good landscape design is important. Without it, you end up with a status-quo garden and that’s been done...a lot ” she says. “Being able to create a magical space that changes how you feel the moment you step into it, is my hope.” For Talbot-Kelly, it’s more than just design; it’s creating a story. NATURALLANDSCAPEMAGAZINE.COM

I 71

Profile for Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine

Natural Landscape Magazine - Spring/Summer 2014  

Canada's Outdoor Design & Lifestyle Magazine

Natural Landscape Magazine - Spring/Summer 2014  

Canada's Outdoor Design & Lifestyle Magazine

Advertisement