How the Secret Scents of Clumber Park Walled Gardens Helped Me Become a Winner!

14th June 2024

Clumber Park walled garden pattern collection. Rhubarb pattern


The sweet smells of Clumber Park walled gardens inspired me to create imaginary products for the home that soon became a winner!

In the past year, I’ve spent every spare moment delving into creating work I only dreamt of in the past. When the Ultimate Portfolio Builder course came up, I jumped at the chance to challenge myself and start making my childhood dream of botanical illustration and design a reality.

Moodboards for Clumber Park Pattern Collection

The Creative Brief

As part of the course, ‘Make it in Design‘ offered some live briefs. The first one, in collaboration with BluePrint, was to research the market, identify our dream clients, and produce a pattern collection for them. Never one to turn down a research project, I eagerly began making mood boards and searching for as much information as possible. I decided to concentrate on the giftware and homeware market, specifically home scents.


Candle mock up Clumber Park Surface Pattern collection

Who Would Be My Dream Client?

As a keen member of the National Trust* with an obsession with historical properties and gardens, it didn’t take long to make my choice. For years, every time I stepped into one of their gift shops, I studied their products and books, secretly dreaming that one day my work might be sold there. So, the National Trust was my chosen dream client.

I’m lucky to live close to several National Trust properties, but the one that caught my imagination was Clumber Park, just a 15-20 minute drive from my home. I’ve been visiting their walled gardens since childhood, and now I take my daughters there. My aunt and uncle even tend to the beehives. Clumber’s famous walled garden became my inspiration.

Clumber Park pattern collection natural colour palette

The Inspirational Scents of Clumber Park

If you haven’t visited Clumber Park’s 18th-century walled gardens, I highly recommend it. With 4 acres of glorious gardens, it boasts a national collection of over 130 varieties of rhubarb, 250 apple trees, a mature rose garden, herb borders, soft fruits, and honey bees. You can almost smell the scents just by reading about them.

Clumber park pattern collection. Rhubarb pattern, apple pattern, rose pattern

The Clumber Park Surface Pattern Collection

As you can imagine, I wasn’t short of icons or designs to add to my illustrations and surface pattern collection. In fact, I had more trouble editing them out. Keeping with my natural style of pen and ink sketches and inspired by what you can find in Clumber Park’s Walled Garden I created a collection including simple classical line drawings to more complex, naturally coloured trailing patterns that captured all the magical scents.

My hero pattern was like a secret garden of trailing rhubarb, apples, roses and honey bees. playing with different colour ways to evoke different emotions mixed with simple line drawings to give a sophisticated and luxurious feel.

Supporting my hero pattern are simpler patterns that focus maybe on one scent that you can find. My rhubarb stripes were even created by using strips of rhubarb to print with, this was a little messy but great fun to embrace that natural texture.

The colour palette was carefully extracted from the rhubarb, apples, trees, and other natural elements found in the garden. I aimed for soft, natural tones, reflecting historical palettes that might have been seen in the house before it was sadly demolished many years ago.


Clumber park pattern collection mockup of home scents for National Trust

Home Scents Created from Nature

From the start, I knew that I wanted to create a collection of patterns that could be used on gift packaging. Knowing that the National Trust likes to sell locally produced items in their shops, I imagined a range of home scent products that were lovingly made from the garden’s bounty. So thinking of natural scents that people enjoy I created packaging for a range of candles, diffusers, drawer scents, and linen sprays.

When I illustrate botanicals and patterns I love to hide symbolism or tell a story.  I wanted to give you a sense of what scents you could expect to embrace when you open the box or spray the fragrance around your home. With a desire that the patterns would make you feel like you are wandering about a secret garden filled with the scents of nature. Enveloping you in those small details, from the perfume of the roses to the ripeness of the apples collected from the orchard and a hint of organic honey collected from the local honey bees.

The Results of the Competition

This brief was a dream come true. I put my heart and soul into every piece, imagining it was real and that I could pick up the items I had mocked up. All the submissions were stunning, and every designer created show-stopping work. I don’t know how “Make it in Design” could assess the work; it must have been a hard task.

So when the results were announced and I saw my name as the winner, I was ecstatic. I think I’ve been walking on cloud nine ever since.

As the winner, I’m delighted to have won a mentor session with the very talented Vic and Kelly who ran the course. I have so many questions for them, and I’m thrilled about the opportunity. Additionally, I gained a place on their next live course, ‘The Master Series‘, in September.

The Ultimate Portfolio Builder Course has boosted my confidence immensely, transforming my uncertainty about whether I was even good enough to be on the course into a burning desire to get my work into the world. I know I have a long way to go, so please keep coming back to see what I’m up to. Maybe one day, my dream of standing in a National Trust shop holding a product with one of my drawings will become a reality.

Thank you, ‘Make it in Design,’ for everything. I couldn’t recommend your courses enough—they teach new skills, boost confidence, and provide a supportive community of talented surface pattern designers.

*As a disclaimer I just wanted to say that these designs were NOT produced in collaboration with the National Trust they are my personal creations for something that I’d love to see come alive one day. But thank you National Trust for inspiring me!

I’d love to help to you tell your story through the power of nature.

Are you looking for an illustration or pattern that is more than just a pretty picture? Something full of meaningful details that can capture the imagination of the viewer and immerse them into a magical place of calm. Taking them away from the hustle of daily life.

If you have a story to tell send me a message, I’d love to hear all about it.


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