About Us

People often ask us – why Midfeather? What does it mean? Well, apart from the fact that it gave us a good excuse for a fabulous feathery logo, there was a reason for selecting it from Dave’s 18th century mining dictionary. Midfeathers were the small veins or pipes of mineral linking larger veins, and Dave’s dictionary defines them as follows:

“There are more (pipes) running with (the main pipe) at a distance, and it is natural for these to be attended with what we call Midfeathers, and these are a small kind of pipe running in the space betwixt these others… these Midfeathers are always very uncertain… but when they conjoin with (the main pipes), they make the Worke much kinder and better.”

We like to think that, by working with both the client and the landscaper to keep the channels of communication open and clear, we help to make the process of creating your dream garden “kinder and better” too!

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Photograph © Liz Evans

Anthea’s Biography

I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up in horticulture, as both my grandfathers were gardeners. My paternal grandfather was a professional gardener, looking after the gardens of the local big house, while my maternal grandfather found salvation in gardening after a bad industrial accident left him unable to work—he went on to win prizes with his chrysanthemums, one of which was so huge it had to be shipped up to the horticultural halls in London in the back of a furniture van!!

Both parents have always been keen gardneners, but I didn’t really get the bug til I had a garden of my own—a little London back alley really, but with a sound proofed shed at the bottom which we used as an office cum greenhouse. My pride and joy were my pot grown camellias, which I have taken with me on all our house moves since then and which are now proudly planted and flourishing in this garden.

The house we are now in is the house where I grew up til I was 5, and where my grandparents lived up until a few years ago. It has a large garden, surrounded by orchard, in the shadow of the Malvern Hills—for me it is paradise. I am in the process of planting a new orchard, as the existing trees are rapidly approaching the end of their natural lives, and have great plans for wildflower meadows and a small native wood. The garden is in need of great attention—particularly as we have just had half the house knocked down and rebuilt—so is not yet a great advert for the design practise—but it will be—and it is going to be my design laboratory where I can try out my many ideas and inspirations.

So, why am I a designer and what sort of a designer am I? I had a conventional career moving from university (history degree) to the civil service, and then less conventionally into computer book publishing which was exciting, stimulating and stressful all at the same time. And then a very close friend of mine got cancer, and died at the age of 37, and I suddenly became aware that waiting for the right time to go off and do what I REALLY wanted to do wasn’t such a great idea after all, because time is a limited commodity and you just don’t know how much of it you’ve got. I went back to college at Pershore, met some great people, was lucky enough to have excellent tutors and came out with a garden design qualification and a burning desire to make people’s gardens better.

My design philosophy is to listen to what people want and need, and then to mesh that with my inspiration and creativity and knowledge of plants and materials, and very much to listen to and appreciate the garden itself. I am always aware of the need to go with the site—to appreciate the existing soil conditions, and surroundings and to make a garden which harmonises with these rather than trying to spend a lot of time and money going against them. I don’t see myself as being tied down to one particular style. I can appreciate the beauty of a perennial meadow type planting and of a formal topiary based garden. I want to do what will suit the place and the people—and which I can believe in and enjoy creating. Fundamentally, I like to have a good structure underlying any design, and then feel free to be looser and more relaxed with the planting. I like my gardens to have good bones. Design heroes? Beth Chatto, the guys who created Bryans Ground, love Diarmuid’s ideas and creativity, could live without the concrete, love Dan Pearson and Tom Stuart-Smith for their planting and Charles Jenks and Ian Hamilton-Finlay for their originality.

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Dave’s Biography

So, how did I come to be working alongside Anthea in the realm of garden design? I can best describe it as a coming together of separate strands to make what is, in my view, a very strong, satisfying and enjoyable rope!

What are the strands? Wagging school on Friday afternoons to help my uncle who was a full time gardener; in my early teens renting the unused ends of neighbours gardens to grow vegetables, with rent paid for in veg; joining the conservation volunteers at university and learning how to hedgelay, coppice and manage woodland; how to r-e-a-l-l-y work the earth beneath our feet as a mining engineer; spending most of my working life managing people and projects; my passion for climbing and mountaineering, travelling all over the world and marvelling at the fragile beauty and diversity of landscape; working closely with Anthea during our time at the publishers Wrox Press and finding an easy affinity and shared values. At the time, I never saw any pattern or connection between these strands except that they were all fun to do.

And then quite by chance Anthea and I found ourselves simultaneously at a crossroads, ready to try our hands at something different, to take a gamble and perhaps weave something unique. And so the strands came together resulting in Midfeather Garden Design. Look closely and the separate strands are all still there. But most importantly it’s a lot of fun.