In the second of our series of coffees with people we really like, we chat to James Basson, a garden designer who has recently returned from the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show clutching his second gold medal for one of the prestigious show gardens.
For the last two years James has designed the gardens for L’Occitane, purveyors of the loveliest beauty products and fragrances and bringing us all a touch of sun-steeped Provence. During a trip to Cupsmith HQ, we caught up with James over a cup of coffee to find out what influences him and what makes him happy.
James, you’re based in the South of France, what sort of lifestyle does that give you, and why is that important?
"We are really lucky and have an amazing lifestyle, close to the mountains for skiing in winter and close to the sea for sailing in the summer, great food, great wine and great climate! I don’t think our children realise how lucky they are. It is so important to us because it means our kids have a complete understanding of the outside world and are incredibly active and healthy, although they are somewhat lost in the hub of a big city!
What are some of your favourite sources of inspiration?
We love to take walks locally as our big inspiration in our gardens is the natural landscape, and it is only really by walking that we observe the tiniest beautiful details that we would miss if we zoomed past in a car. By doing the same route at different times of the year we can observe nature’s wonderful way of renewing and changing throughout the seasons, there is also a new spectacle to see.
As a business and lifestyle, Cupsmith is all about slowing down, watching the clouds go by. How do you and your family relax and slow down?
We love to go to sailing, no phones and no TV (although we don’t have one at home either), a small anchorage in Corsica on a sailboat watching the sun set is just amazing.
How important do you think it is that people slow down, and can gardening help with this?
In today’s world where we are all rushing around, and communication is at our fingertips with people expecting instant replies, it is of utmost importance to be able to take a moment, switch off share a meal with friends etc. Gardening and the natural world helps with this as by touching the earth and watching the changes in the landscape it puts our everyday stresses into perspective. We are just a small cog in an enormous wheel and it is the world’s flora and fauna that sustain us, and that we should concentrate on trying to sustain in turn.
Which is your favourite Cupsmith coffee?
Well as I've just enjoyed a delicious cappuccino sitting in your roastery, right now I'd say it's that! But tomorrow morning back at home I'll enjoy the Breakfast Coffee.
You can read more about James’s work and see some of the projects undertaken by Scape Design at www.scapedesign.com