Steve Coghill, King’s College Head Gardener

“Creativity is a sort of a touchstone for me within the landscape. The landscape is an astonishing thing. It’s dynamic. It’s exciting. It’s rewarding. If you mistreat it it can bite you really hard. What I am doing is attempting to be the steward of something that’s a living, dynamic thing.” – Steve Coghill

Steve is a teacher, lecturer, gardener, landscape designer, horticulturist, conservationist and a steward of nature at King’s College.

As head gardener of King’s College, Steve’s best days are when the weather is good, the sun is up, and he can just get out there and enjoy the spectacular landscape. These are the days when Steve gets a chance to reflect, both on the space around him and on his team who work blooming hard to support and sustain King’s stunning landscapes. For Steve, gardening is consulting the genius of place and recognising that our landscapes have been here before us, are here for us now, and will continue long after us. There is a great deal of being humble in the presence of nature.

Steve learnt as a youngster to try and work with nature, with the landscape and gardens, rather than try to oppose them. He advises that we should not be afraid to embrace the new in our natural environments. But we should also always respect where we are and to work with nature in deep relationship. Rather than managing land, he says you become a part of it. And working with and respecting landscapes also requires working with and respecting teams and networks of people. Steve says nature can heal, but you need to give nature a chance. Connecting and working with others who have different skills can help maintain the balancing act of habitat management. Steve hopes that, together, we all can appreciate and love the landscapes around us, tread lightly on the world and try to put a little back in our Cambridge community.