UK-born landscape designer Christopher Nicholas took a little detour last year in Morocco. A client had commissioned him to travel there to source pots for their new garden. Before he left word got out among his other clients, and Chris had a long request list. The sourcing trip took him along the long roads that wind through the Atlas Mountains near Marrakech, through nearby villages and out into the Sahara Dessert. "With the help of a guide and a few words of Arabic we wandered down alleyways, behind the walls of riads, and across roof tops until we found, in the baking sun, beautiful clusters of antique pots," Chris says. "No longer being used for storing dates, olives and yak butter, I could see their potential for my clients' gardens back home." Home, back then, was the UK. It was his base to work on gardens in the UK, France and Italy for the best part of a decade. More recently he has returned to Australia, where he completed school, and has been busy creating gardens in Sydney. He has also just opened a container of Moroccan pots, which he plans to wholesale and retail.
Which five words best describe you? Creative, intuitive, particular, sensitive and funny (if the mood takes me).
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Eleven was the age when I was enveloped by a passion for plants. Living in Kent in England, I remember distinctly getting out of the car from school for the summer holidays and my mother had done the pots in front of our home. I cringe with the thought but I remember lilac-coloured Lobelia catching my eye. That was 25 years ago. It's all been about gardens since.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Not to worry and that second thoughts are invaluable.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I did a great garden for the National Trust at Lindesay, Darling Point. I was given free range to interpret a historical garden. It was the first big project I did after returning from Europe and had longed to use the plant material I was thinking about while I was away. I still oversee it today.
What’s been your best decision? Working for myself, scary at first but necessary.
Who inspires you? William Kent.
What are you passionate about? Restoration.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? William Kent, although meeting your heroes...
What dream do you still want to fulfil? A garden of my own.
What are you reading? Beautiful ruins by Jess Walter.
images courtesy of christopher nicholas