Karen Blight

What subjects do you teach?

I teach garden design and planting design at Merrist Wood.

How many years have you been teaching?

This is my first teaching post and I have been with the college since 2017.

What do you enjoy about teaching adults?

I love teaching anyone who shares my passions and is keen to learn new skills that may either help them develop a new business, change their careers or simply improve the spaces they live in.

What got you into garden design?

I have always been interested in design. I originally trained as a fashion designer in London and became a Senior Fashion Buyer for the Debenhams group which combined design and shopping, heaven for me! 

Leaving to have a family but wanting to continue to learn I took courses in floristry, specialist paint effects and interior design at Guildford College and started a business offering my newly found skills. 

Creating interiors for clients led naturally to questions about their gardens. I was a keen gardener but felt I needed a professional qualification, so I did the Garden Design Degree at Merrist Wood. During the course, three of us entered the RHS Plant and Design Show and won a Silver medal for our design as well as the People’s Choice Award, of which I’m very proud.  

What other passions do you have?

With a passion for all design comes a need to record it. I love photography and currently have over 30,000 images of gardens!

Why should someone join your classes?

People who attend my classes are clearly interested in the subject whatever their motivation. I can show them the steps they need to take, and through practical sessions we learn to assess what is on site, evaluate it and then how we go about designing from scratch. It doesn’t matter if you have never studied art or drawing, all you need is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

I am passionate about what I do and enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience to other people so that they continue to grow and feel fulfilled as I have.