Xanthe White is a well-known Auckland landscape designer and author. Her talented work ranges from private commissions to major urban projects through her Xanthe White Design business. She has been Daltons Brand Ambassador for ten years and also appears frequently on radio and television.
Xanthe has won numerous awards for her work including gold and silver medals, and the People’s Choice award at the Ellerslie International Flower Show. She has also won a Silver Gilt award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and a gold medal and Best Design award at the Gardening World Cup in Japan.
Xanthe is married with two young children who feature in some of the photos throughout her books.
“Daltons products are made for real gardeners who know that the key to a beautiful garden begins with the soil. Like anything in life if you don’t get the foundation right you will never get the results you desire. Daltons have had the last 60 years of trials and testing to ensure that each product is the best it can be and their team is always available to offer advice and support. To take on the world you need to know you can depend on those you are working with every step of the way and I can truly say Daltons have been there for all my successes!”
Award winning landscape designer and author, Xanthe White, has been Daltons brand ambassador for over ten years. She has plenty of gardening experience and knowledge to impart to home gardeners and professionals alike. Here Xanthe shares her passion for gardening, along with tips, advice and gardening secrets even the most weathered gardener may not know.
The magic of gardens
Sometimes I feel like growing old is a bit like being a tree that’s getting taller in a forest. In the middle where I am now the view is wonderful, beautiful old trees standing tall and young saplings beneath. You can see the views beyond and still are in touch with the ground beneath but you are aware that as you keep rising, its easy to forget where you started and where your feet still stand.
You know that as you head upwards, the saplings will be further from you, that your view of the world is changing as you rise, but that inevitably one day you will fall back down into that earth and be reabsorbed into the everything.
I was sent recently a picture of myself as a little girl crouched in the earth in a pretty skirt with a trowel beside me, barefoot, dirty, happy. It’s a beautiful reminder of my love for what I do. As the gardens I’m working on expand in many ways, the purpose of gardens for me can be summed up in that photo. The power of a garden to create that moment and connection for another child. A garden, be it a little patch beside the back door or a rolling estate, can change what we think about when we wake up in the morning and what we first see when we arrive home from all the other things that occupy our lives. They are where we can be quiet with ourselves and watch caterpillars grow and turn into butterflies, where we can talk with our grandparents, sniff and pick flowers or watch Tui’s return to the same branch of a tree to sing to their mate as the sun rises every morning.
While a landscape is a great beauty, it is the intimacy of our relationship with our gardens that makes them so powerful. That we notice the first flower that opens on a plant at the start of a season. That we notice the bites a caterpillar or snail has taking out of the leaves of a lettuce in our patch. These are tiny things that as gardeners become moments of action or memories. We know the scents of different times of year, what insects come and go and we watch the trees get taller that were once just sticks that we fed and watered and are now bigger than ourselves.
It’s all magic. Beauty is natures gift to lure us into these spaces and allow us the pleasure of the minutia of life. It is also a tool to the designer to bring new gardeners into the outside world with the ultimate gift to them being that they will end up with their feet bare and planted in the earth. As the scale expands around me pulling me upwards to look at things supposedly greater, I can admire the view and see the horizon, but as I sit at my desk and draw and sketch, I am reminded to zoom in beneath the trees to make sure there is always space for that little girl to lie in the garden well dressed and filthy but most importantly happy.
The Good Dirt
by Xanthe White
Improving soil health for more successful gardening.
In The Good Dirt, landscape designer Xanthe White goes beneath the surface to reveal the secrets to successful gardening. As the title suggests, this book is all about the soil we find in our garden and more particularly how we can maximize its growing potential.
If you’ve ever wondered why some plants thrive in one location but struggle in your own backyard you’ll be likely to find explanations in the soil below. Xanthe White examines the five main soil types found in New Zealand and offers advice on how to get the best from each one by working in harmony with nature.
Complete with ingredients guides for each soil type and ideas and design features to enhance its fertility, this is an essential companion for anyone looking to establish a new garden or improve their existing one.
The Natural Garden
by Xanthe White
A sumptuous and inspirational landscape design book that looks at how award-winning landscape designer Xanthe White’s signature style, which she calls the ‘natural’ or ‘wild’ garden can be applied to flower, native, rural, dry, inner city, productive, subtropical, coastal, and small city wall and roof gardens.
Warmly and expertly written and lavishly illustrated with photos and Xanthe’s own hand-drawn plans, the book also contains best plant guides for each garden type as well as growing and composting advice. It’s almost as good as having Xanthe call round for a consultation!
Organic Vegetable Gardening
by Xanthe White
Organic vegetable gardening is big again. Here’s a book that takes readers by the hand and shows them how to go from backyard bombsite to organic Garden of Eden in one year.
Author Xanthe White, New Zealand landscape-design star, documents a year in the garden she built from scratch in a rundown inner-city backyard, inspiring readers to realise that they can do it too. Xanthe’s monthly diary inspires and confides, and her guides to sowing, planting, pests and diseases, making compost, mulching and more make it easy for beginners to follow - and get fabulous results. There’s plenty for experienced gardeners here, too. Xanthe’s tips, techniques and infectious enthusiasm will get even the most seasoned gardeners wanting to try something new. Most of all, she demystifies organics and makes it easy to agree that the only way to garden is organically.
Studded with great informational photographs, this book carves out new and unique territory that sets it apart from other gardening books. It is an inspirational and practical guide.