Graham Gough was introduced to gardening at a very early age, confronted by Fuchsias and ‘Superstar’ roses in his Mum’s flower borders and being weaned on huge ‘Webbs Wonderful’ lettuce from his Dad’s vegetable plot.
Following a short career in classical music as a gifted tenor, his love of plants was re-awoken by a cathartic trip to Sissinghurst Castle in Kent where his eyes were opened to the artistic and creative process of gardening at its highest level.
Deeply inspired and pointed in the right direction by Sissinghurst’s head gardeners Pam Schwerdt and Sibylle Kreutzberger Graham changed profession and by a stroke of luck gained a job working under Elizabeth Strangman at the renowned Washfield Nursery in Kent. Here over a period of 16 years he learnt his Nurseryman’s skills and in doing so gained a formidable knowledge of plants.
In 1998 with the encouragement and support of his partner, Lucy Goffin (Textile Artist), Graham established his own nursery, Marchants Hardy Plants at Laughton in Sussex. As a hand’s on man and with the help of his staff, he loves to grow all his own plants, to breed, raise and select new varieties and enjoys playing and painting with plants in the garden at Marchants.
His life as a Nurseryman is further enriched by garden design, consultations, photography, talks, writing and travel to observe plants in their native habitats (Armenia, China, South Africa, Turkey, etc.). He also enjoys a passion for cooking and still finds time to warble the odd note.
Lucy Goffin is well known for making and designing textiles. She is also no newcomer to plants having grown up among the wild flowers of the Chiltern Hills with her very keen gardening mother. Plants and gardening have been integral to her life but since working at Marchants with her husband Graham the learning curve has taken on a radical shift. Remarkably, she has absorbed an enormous amount of plant knowledge and has also developed and uses her own unique spelling for latin plant names!
The relationship between her design work and the garden and plants at Marchants has become symbiotic with each feeding the other.
Lucy works largely to commission from large works for public spaces to smaller private commissions, in particular individual jackets and waistcoats for which she has become well known. More recently she has constructed collages based on direct observation of flowers in the form of posies gathered and arranged for the house or as gifts for friends. They are entitled ‘Imaginary Flowers’. If you would like to learn more about Lucy’s work click on www.lucygoffintextiles.co.uk