‘The Garden Design Confessional’ podcast series hosted by Darren Hawkes for Maggie’s

New ‘Garden Design Confessional’ podcast series, hosted by the award-winning landscape designer Darren Hawkes, featuring fellow Maggie’s garden designers.

Samaritans Listening Garden. Designed by Darren Hawkes. Sponsored by Samaritans and Project Giving Back. Show Garden. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Stand no 325.

The Garden Design Confessional is a series of ‘tell all’ podcasts where Darren Hawkes talks to fellow designers and landscape architects about the gardens they designed for Maggie’s centres and about what inspires them and how their design process has developed over the years.

Maggie’s provide free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends, following the ideas about cancer care originally laid out by Maggie Keswick Jencks. Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s centres are places with professional staff on hand to offer the support people need. The first Maggie’s opened in Edinburgh in 1996 and since then Maggie’s has continued to grow, with 26 centres at major NHS cancer hospitals in the UK and abroad.

Maggie’s centres are generally set in beautiful gardens to help visitors find the emotional space they need. While each Maggie’s garden is unique, they all facilitate a connection with nature, something that is particularly powerful in a healthcare setting.

In Hawkes’ podcast series, the guests share their design inspirations for their respective Maggie’s gardens, reveal their ‘garden confessions’ and share how designing for a Maggie’s centre differs from other projects.

Guests on the Garden Design Confessional podcast:

  • Dan Pearson – designer of Maggie’s Manchester and West London
  • Sarah Price – designer of Maggie’s Southampton garden
  • Piet Oudolf – designer of Maggie’s Royal Marsden garden
  • Kim Wilkie – designer of Maggie’s Swansea
  • Marie Louise Agius – designer of Maggie’s Yorkshire
  • Arrabella Lennox Boyd – designer of Maggie’s Dundee

Hawkes started working with Maggie’s in 2016, creating a show garden for Maggie’s at Chelsea Flower Show. This lead to to landscape plans for the gardens at Maggie’s Forth Valley and Maggie’s Barts. Many of the designers have had personal experiences with cancer that have gone on to inspire their designs for Maggie’s. Host Darren Hawkes talks about his mother’s hospice room and how it overlooked a garden tended to by patients and their families.

“What’s really impressive about working with Maggie’s is their understanding of the impact that a well-designed space has on their visitors and staff. I was really curious about how each designer had interpreted the brief given to them and managed to achieve a consistent atmosphere whilst creating radically different gardens. I was also aware there was something much deeper going on – these gardens aren’t just about the plants and the hard landscape, but also facilitating deep connections between individuals and their interactions with the living world.”, explained Hawkes.

Maggie’s Chief Executive, Dame Laura Lee said: “Our founder Maggie was a garden designer herself and was very aware of the importance of a connection to nature. We want people who come to Maggie’s to be able to look or step outside from as many places as possible, even if it’s only into a planted courtyard. The landscaping can often also be a threshold or decompression space for people coming to one of our centres for the first time. We are so grateful to Darren for his work on this podcast. It’s a fascinating series of discussions that we’re so proud to be a part of.”

The Garden Design Confessional’ podcast series is available on Spotify, Apple, Audible and Amazon Music.