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Ibiza living

Terravita Gardens

Up close & personal with Jason Watson Todd

We were on our best, pesticide-free behaviour when we met up with quintessential English gentleman and Ibiza landscape gardener extraordinaire Jason Watson Todd.

Before you get too excited (what is it about gardeners?), we were on our best, pesticide-free behaviour when we met up with quintessential English gentleman and Ibiza landscape gardener extraordinaire Jason Watson Todd – co-owner of the successful Terravita group, proud father to four girls and all-round good egg. Based here on the island, Terravita comprises four businesses – renewable energies, bioclimatic construction, maintenance and, of course, landscape gardening, which is Jason’s proud domain.

So Jason, pardon the pun, but you have deep roots in Ibiza don’t you?
Yes, I was born here. My parents [founders of the famous Las Dalias Hippy Market] came in 1969 and just never left! The market was mum’s idea, and those early days were great. It was a real community… authentic… and wild! The children hung out with the parents so we’d just play in the garden, climbing trees – my upbringing was so different, I think I was considered a bit of an odd fish by my friends in England [blushes]. I tried to fit in there for a while but then you realise it’s just not worth it.

From climbing trees to planting trees! Is that when you first realised you had a green thumb?
I’ve always loved nature. I wanted to be a farmer, a gardener or a carpenter. I grew a tomato plant from seed when I was 18, on a rooftop garden. I think that was the start.

Your gardens these days are famously stunning! How did you go from tomatoes to Terravita?
I run the company with my brother. We started by buying a bunch of tools and the worst car in the world, an orange Lada! My first job was pruning a field of carob trees. When we built our first natural pool it cost us twice the price we quoted. [laughs] But that’s how you learn of course.

What goes through your mind when you are designing?
I just get into the moment. I don’t let it run through my mind. It’s more of a feeling. I don’t like imposing a garden on a landscape – the landscape itself should depict the garden. I personally like simple, Zen-like gardens – wavy, gentle, soft.

A bit like you Jason!
[Laughs] Yeah, I guess you could say it reflects my personality.

So what’s your own garden like then?
Oh, I just have a little veg patch. I’m a big fan of simplicity really.

What lessons have you learnt from nature?
[Long pause] Patience! And humility. When you feel nature’s power, for example the recent storms in Ibiza, you feel very small. I think a lot of us have forgotten that – who the real boss is.