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.