Episode 59: Scent Magic with Isabel Bannerman

This is an interview I did with garden designer and author of the book Scent Magic, Isabel Bannerman. You will deduce from some of the comments in the episode that it was recorded in autumn last year and for one reason or another, I’ve sat on it all that time, never quite sure when to release it. Of course, there are scents in the garden all year round, but when you’re heading towards winter and the scent of a sweet pea flower seems a lifetime away, somehow I couldn’t quite get together the enthusiasm for the subject matter that I felt this episode deserved, especially as scents are such an important thing to me. If you read the book, you will realise these ethereal, ephemeral things make up an integral part of our very being and yet we don’t have a consensus on a vocabulary to even begin to describe them. As the natural world bursts into green and flower around us, stick your nose in the air and have a good sniff.

About Isabel Bannerman:

Alongside Julian Bannerman, Isabel heads up a garden design practice. Together, the couple have designed gardens for HRH The Prince of Wales, clients from the worlds of film and fashion and have won gold medals at RHS Chelsea for their work. Isabel is also an accomplished photographer with 4 solo shows under her belt and is the author of two books, ‘Scent Magic’ and ‘Landscape of Dreams’ (2016).

What We Discuss:

The importance of scent to Isabel’s design work. Designing scentscapes.

Dreaming scents; why don’t we?

Air pollution and its affect on the way scent carries

Unexpected or overlooked scents in the garden

How aspect affects the way scent travels

The faecal smell that sometimes underscores the top notes of flowers

Some of Isabel’s favourite scent combinations

Combinations that don’t work together


Scent Magic by Isabel Bannerman – Pimpernel Press, 2019

Isabel & Julian Bannerman Garden Design


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