The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Jinny Blom Ltd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Jinny Blom Ltd
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
19JINNY BLOM |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
Jinny Blom after her successful
exhibition in the Jardin de
A rose garden made as part of a larger
garden for Lady Getty in the Chilterns
and harnessing the limitless views
Jinny Blom set up her design studio in 2000 and has since
been gathering a range of commissions across the globe.
As a self-taught designer, she does not confine her creative
output simply to the built landscape, instead tailoring her skills to
suit varied commissions and ensuring each is given a unique and
specific response. Jinny tells
The Parliamentary Review
In 1996 I changed career. I had been a psychologist working as co-director at a
charitable trust for men with psychosis and PTSD. Working with these troubled
people, I realised the positive power the landscape has on us and I decided to
devote myself to landscaping. It was a major change of profession and I had to
work extremely hard to gain traction in the sector.
Building a business
For four years I worked as a part-time apprentice for an established designer,
while building my own clientele. During this time, we completed a major part of
the landscaping to The Millennium Dome and after the untimely death of Princess
Diana, we redesigned Althorp to allow access for visitors.
Following the success of these projects and a steady increase in my own work,
Iset up my studio in 2000 with one freelance assistant. My background in senior
management allowed me to progress the business quickly. The vast majority of our
clients are business people with a speed of decision-making altogether different
from the grinding gears of the voluntary and public sector. Early clients were
extremely generous about the gaps in my knowledge. Openness and honesty
during the formative stages allowed lasting working relationships to build and
»Founder: Jinny Blom
»Established in 2000
»Based in Clerkenwell, London
»No. of employees: 10
»75 per cent of Jinny’s work is
in the UK, and the remaining
25 per cent elsewhere in the
»Scrupulously protects client
»Known for intelligent
responses to complex projects
»Known for beautiful and
pragmatic landscape design
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | JINNY BLOM
we still work with a number of our
initial clients to this day. I was offered
a lot of guidance and one piece of
advice has always stuck with me: “Do
one thing properly and you won’t
I have never needed to advertise as
work has always come via word of
mouth. Excellent working relationships
with clients, contractors and the press
have been key to our success, and
our staff are encouraged to pick up
the phone and speak to people rather
than hide in emails. The strength of a
working relationship allows projects to
weather many trials and tribulations.
Equally, with working across the globe
it is vital to form bonds strong enough
to endure distance and infrequent
visits in order to achieve the quality of
work for which we are known.
Knowing when you can’t do
something to the quality that you
hope to deliver is also important for
a young business. From early on we
have outsourced the management
accounting, leaving us free to focus
on where our strengths lie. Our clients
appreciate the transparency and
consistency that this method allows.
A truly unique organisation
Since 2000 the business has grown
steadily in both reputation and size.
We now employ ten full-time staff in
the studio and utilise extra help via
specialists as required. At any given
time, we have between 30 and 40 jobs
of differing size and scope.
We have the most phenomenal
projects and it would be fabulous to
name them, but this would contradict
our innate client protection. Many of
our assignments cover many acres,
often with listed buildings, and require
intelligent thinking as even the most
resourced client doesn’t want a vast
staff team running their estate. We
specialise in creating beautiful, pragmatic
landscape masterplans that incorporate
the latest green technologies and
Our pleasant studio in Clerkenwell,
London, is in the heart of the
architecture and design hub and close
to the City where most of our clients
work. This has been our preferred
location since 2005 as it services us
well. We have all the requisite printers,
art suppliers and restaurants locally
as well as being comfortably close for
our clients to pop round for meetings.
Our meetings are legendary – clients
often leave saying it’s the best meeting
they’ve ever had: hospitable, relaxed,
focused and fun.
Completely by chance, the staff
team is predominantly made up of
women. Although this has occurred
circumstantially, it is a welcome
situation. When we advertise, the ratio
of highly qualified and committed
women landscape architects is far
greater than that of the men. Women
have an adaptive nature that suits a
smallish company and the ethos we
hold that “everyone does everything”.
The team is essentially collaborative
and collegiate. Hierarchy is logically
expressed as experience and length of
time in the business.
The gardens at Arijiju,
Kenya where elephants
are often to be found
with their trunks in the
It is the
nature that is
to us as
progressive land use and
»Author of the worldwide
An intelligent approach
to garden design
»Salon: we hold a
monthly salon “Jinny’s
Tonics” hosted by
leading luminaries from
the arts and culture
21JINNY BLOM |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
It is interesting to see the issues young
professional women face at work. They
have to slog harder to win the respect
of the client group and contractors.
I aim to instil confidence in them
through encouraging them to express
their knowledge and professionalism
and not be intimidated. If supported,
they very quickly gain the respect of
our clientele and collaborators. Women
are never offered corporate gifts. We
are in effect construction professionals
and our male counterparts are
invariably offered days at Ascot,
playing golf or going to the rugby.
We get nothing. It must be a result
of some kind of archaic gentlemanly
embarrassment, assuming we only like
chocolates and champagne.
Landscape architecture is a highly
skilled multidisciplinary profession.
Recruitment is complicated. We rely
on candidates from overseas where
the relevant education is much better.
Since the Brexit referendum, finding
new staff of the right calibre has been
tough. The UK processes currently in
place make it tougher. We recently
recruited a Harvard-educated landscape
architect only to endure 11 months of
interaction with the Home Office to
secure a replacement for our lapsed
sponsorship licence – we succeeded.
For a small company, being subjected
to such complex procedures to fill a
skilled role is onerous andcostly.
We are a cross-border company
reflective of our client group. We have
always been fleet of foot and highly
responsive and this has been supported
by the government and fiscal systems.
We now need to register to pay VAT
in every European country, increasing
costs and slowing our operations. The
UK has always excelled at supporting
entrepreneurial freedom of movement,
but the current level of uncertainty is
unsettling across the board. Through
our years of work and unstinting efforts
we generate millions of pounds’ worth
of work annually, and we support
hundreds of skilled workers in the
landscape and associated trades both
here and abroad. We find ourselves,
however, in a shrinking puddle of
available skills, mired in ever increasing
bureaucracy – we cannot afford to be
a UK-centric business. More must be
done to support specialist businesses
to recruit fluidly from around the world
and trade easily across borders or we
are in significant danger of losing our
Knowing an oak
Iplant might still
be standing in
hundreds of years
idylls such as this take
»Arijiju, Borana, Laikipia, Kenya: Conservation landscaping to a newly
built lodge voted “Best House in Africa” by
Conde Nast Traveler
»Temple Guiting Manor, Gloucestershire: Masterplan and execution
of an 18-roomed garden to a Grade I listed manor house in the
heart of the Cotswolds. Jinny Blom won the coveted Pinnacle
Achievement Award by the Drystone Walling Association of Great
Britain bestowed by the Patron HRH Prince Charles.
»Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, Fulham, London: Jinny Blom is
Artist in Residence for CW+ and is currently designing the first ever
bespoke therapeutic garden within the new state-of-the-art ICU on
the top floor of the hospital. The results of the garden use will be
measured academically for health benefits to NHS ICU patients who
are often at risk of developing PTSD as a result of their trauma.
»The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland: Hauser & Wirth, the internationally
renowned art gallery, has moved into hospitality with its new
venture ArtFarm and has opened a five-star hotel and restaurant in
Braemar. We have created an unusual landscape for the hotel.
»Waddesdon Manor: The studio is currently developing a very large
and richly layered landscape scheme for this historic estate. Designed
to attract 100,000 extra visitors over the late winter period.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.