Arabella Lennox Boyd
is a landscape and garden designer, 6 times a Gold Medal winner at Chelsea Flower Show, trustee of the Chelsea Physic Garden and owner of the RHS Veitch Memorial medal who began her dazzling career in St John’s Wood. Born Arabella Parisi in Italy, she grew up amid olive trees at the 15C palazzo Parisi in the foothills of the Apennines and English was her first language, thanks to an English nanny.
She first came to England in 1952 aged 14 and loved the romantic feel of the English countryside, and as a debutante made many friends in London before returning to Italy and marriage. This ended in divorce and she returned to London with a baby daughter. Friendship with Nancy Lancaster, head of Colefax and Fowler and an influential gardener as well, followed, and they were invited to visit grand estates with grand gardens.
In 1968, Arabella took a 14 year lease on a house in Cavendish Place in St John’s Wood. The house and garden were large and beautiful; the building was detached and there was a huge lawn with lovely pear trees planted along the brick wall which surrounded the house on three sides. It felt like being in the country. At the front was a garden big enough for me to park my Fiat.(Gardens in my Life, Arabella Lennox- Boyd.) In this garden, Arabella began experimenting with plants and then went on to design small gardens for friends. She studied landscape architecture at Thames Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich) and, having married Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd in 1974, eventually founded Arabella Lennox-Boyd Landscape and Architectural Design. Her combination of Italian formality and classical symmetry mixed with English romanticism proved irresistible to owners of country houses all over the world and she has now completed over 700 gardens world wide, including one in Hyde Park for the Serpentine North Gallery.
(with thanks to House and Garden 27 July 2021)