A long time ago I ordered a vase from the PastTimes website. It was delivered with a free gift item, a non-fiction book by Tim Smit called The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Its uninspiring cover meant that it remained unread on my shelf for several years until one morning when I needed something new to read on the tube to work and it happened to be the book I pulled down in my hurry to leave the flat. Once safely ensconced on the train I opened the first page, prepared for some slow and heavy reading, and of course my preconceptions were immediately swept away and I was captivated. Smit takes the reader with him stumbling across the forgotten and dramatically overgrown gardens of an abandoned Victorian estate, as magical and poignant as Frances Hodgson Burnett’s. The process of restoration uncovered the history of the estate’s owners, their lives, practices and ingenious innovations, artistic ideals and journeys to exotic lands. From then on I remained enamoured with the idea of shaping environments of my own, working with landscapes to create embodiments of those same things for our own time, in all their variety.