Xa took on the Helmingham garden when she was 24, owing to Tim inheriting on his father’s death. She was lucky enough to have Roy Balaam as Head Gardener, who taught her the art of Horticulture. She learnt plant names by visiting nurseries, other gardens and seeing and learning what was growing in her own garden.

However gardening was not the passion it became later. Her first love was for her horses and after successfully racing and eventing she specialised in the difficult art of dressage, which she did for ten years, competing successfully nationally and internationally. Sadly her top horses went lame and she thought she was “neither young enough, rich enough nor good enough!” to continue. Wanting to have a career she decided on garden design, as by this time she felt increasingly confident and had redesigned elements at Helmingham. Her knowledge of plants was now extensive, and she took drawing classes from a professional designer for eight months, learning how to survey, and draw up scaled plans and axiometric drawings.

Having designed a couple of successful gardens for friends she was asked by the Editor to do a show garden for The Evening Standard at the Chelsea Flower Show. Xa took on this intrepid challenge and many sleepless nights later she was stunned to win the coveted Gold Medal! Since then the work has increased and Xa has worked from North to South of The British Isles designing both large and small gardens in town and country. Two more show gardens at Chelsea successfully resulted in Silver Gilt Medals.

Her commissions have taken her to America, Denmark, France and Italy and lecturing worldwide. Xa continues to work extensively on her own garden and is constantly changing and improving it. She is now on The Herbaceous Perennial Committee of the RHS and judges frequently at the RHS shows. Just recently she was appointed as Garden Advisor to Hyde Hall and has designed a major Kitchen garden there, called The Global Growth Garden, featuring vegetables and fruit from 4 continents. It is being implemented now. Since 2013 she has sat on the prestigious Council of the RHS, which comprise of the top 15 people in horticulture. The RHS has recently taken on a £100M investment in horticulture so an exciting time to be on Council. She is also immensely proud to have her Digger Driver Certificate and is willing to take on any commission with her digger!