Where do you find your silent space?
Liz is the founder of Silent Space. She worked in the City and abroad, then retrained while her family was young. She is a garden writer and historian, a member of the Garden Media Guild and a former trustee of The Association of Gardens Trusts (now The Gardens Trust). From 2015-19, she was a committee member of the Landscape Gardens and Health Network. Liz developed the concept of Silent Space over many years, culminating in a successful pilot in 2016.
Angie has a background in education, horticulture and charity work. Her research has focused on the relationship between gardens/green space, health and wellbeing. Her PhD was based on the gardens at Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres. She was a committee member of the Landscape, Gardens and Health Network (2015-19). Angie is currently based in rural Southern Spain and brings an international research perspective to the trustee board.
As a retired teacher, Yolanda brings many years’ experience of working as part of a team. She recently completed several years as treasurer and trustee of another charity. Her experience of visiting gardens as a member of the public adds an essential dimension to trustee discussions and decision making.
Gary is a horticulturalist with experience of heritage garden management and landscape restoration. He has worked within the National Trust and for charitable and private gardens. Until autumn 2019, he ran the grounds team at Compton Verney House Trust where he set up a Silent Space in the historic landscape. Gary is now Head Gardener at Sulgrave Manor. As more galleries and museums express an interest in offering a Silent Space in their grounds, his experience of working within this sector becomes increasingly important.
Rosie is head gardener at National Trust Ham House and Garden, London. Rosie had a career in communications, working internationally before re-training in garden management. She has wide experience of running a garden open to the public and is a National Trust ‘Garden Champion’, providing guidance to other head gardeners. A successful Silent Space has been operating at Ham House since 2017.
Faith has a background in nursing. She retrained in horticulture, working initially for Horticap. She is curator at Thorp Perrow, an independent arboretum in Yorkshire where she also works as garden projects’ leader for Help for Heroes, Phoenix House Recovery Centre. Faith was one of the first in the UK to explore Forest bathing which she now offers as a therapeutic activity for Help for Heroes, corporate groups, and the general public. There has been a Silent Space at Thorp Perrow since 2017.
(Image ©Charlotte Graham)
Through arts work, teaching and research, Richard explores practical ways of connecting people with quiet.
“Spending time in quiet has numerous benefits for our health and wellbeing. Critically today, quiet spaces afford us an opportunity to ‘unplug’ from the distractions of the ‘attention economy’, giving us the distance to reflect, notice, focus or simply let our minds wander. In disconnecting from distraction, we can connect with ourselves, the environment and each other. I’m honoured to be an ambassador for Silent Space, promoting the excellent work they do.”
Heather taught Science at Secondary Level before starting a family. She retrained in horticulture and developed a business in garden maintenance and design. After volunteering at two National Trust properties to gain experience, she worked at Sizergh Castle and Garden. She is now Senior Gardener at Acorn Bank where she manages a large volunteer team. A Silent Space has been running at Acorn Bank since 2017.
Advolly has an MA in Garden History, is a trustee of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and also sits on the Gardens Trust Education Committee.
“I often have the privilege of spending time in historic public gardens virtually on my own. As an Ambassador I wholeheartedly agree with Liz’s sentiment that, if you can have a quiet carriage on a train, then why not a silent or quiet space in a garden?”
Sybil has lived in Argyll for over 26 years. Relocating from Edinburgh, she enjoys the gentler, quieter life Argyll has to offer. In 2007, Sybil began to work at Benmore Botanic Garden. A varied role, she enjoys working with Benmore’s Garden Guides, Committee, and interacting with members and visitors.
Benmore is a regional garden of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and became the first Garden in Scotland to join Silent Space in 2017.
Barbara edits magazines (The Horticulturist for the Chartered Institute of Horticulture; Suffolk Gardens Trust Newsletter), is the author of 12 books, the latest of which is Secret Gardens of East Anglia (Frances Lincoln 2017) and blogs via The Garden Post website.
Barbara is an Assistant County Organiser for the National Garden Scheme in Suffolk (posting on social media to promote gardens in the county). She is a Member of the charity Perennial and serves on two of its committees.
Barbara is a Freeman of the City of London and a member of one of the City’s livery companies, The Worshipful Company of Gardeners.
“Garden visiting is a privilege and it is wonderful to sample a garden quietly just as if you were in your own garden with birdsong and the buzz of bees as the playlist.”
Pat describes herself as a ‘home grown’ head gardener after spending much of her childhood at Waterperry where the amazing Beatrix Havergal had her School of Horticulture for women. Having been called as a child ‘my youngest student’ by Beatrix, Pat went on to train at Waterperry with Mary Spiller, eventually becoming Head Gardener in 2010.
“I am very proud to have been one of the first gardens to introduce a Silent Space – now one of the most important spaces in the gardens.”
Image © Mark Lord Photography