Happy Birthday It’s All Green To Me!

21 January, 2018
Happy Birthday Moments-c
The best moments of our first year

What an adventure! It’s been exactly a year since I decided to set up and run art and landscape workshops with the aim of educating and inspiring people, and I have to say that the progress that has been made in this short period of time has exceeded my expectations and dreams.

Here is a short summary of the greatest achievements of 2017: there have been some very good and more-than-exciting collaborations with community centres across London, The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and most recently the Architecture Foundation (AF). I am so happy to announce that these collaborations will continue – so stay tuned.

And of course I must mention our volunteer work with Farrer Huxley Associates, when we signed up for the RHS’s Green Plan It challenge, mentored the Swanlea School in east London, won first prize and later in June entered the project for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show!

Happy moments do not stop here: the opportunity to become a landscape ambassador and an award from the Landscape Institute for ‘outstanding volunteer work’ were possibly the most important highlights of 2017.

As December closed, I have heard that I have been selected as one of the ten faces of the landscape profession in the UK. Ten landscape architects were asked to talk about their experiences in the landscape architecture sector, and you will see me among the finalists.

Back to the It’s All Green To Me courses: I hope you’re all, like me, looking forward to the new programme for 2018. The plan for the coming year is to focus more on horticultural workshops and outdoor activities that will help you understand and read our landscapes. The website will get a facelift in the next few months, making it easier to navigate for booking courses.

I hope 2018 will be an equally happy year for everyone – watch this space, and stay in touch!

Lily from It’s All Green To Me

Merry Christmas from It’s All Green To Me

21 December, 2017
Merry Christmas Avocado
How to grow an avocado tree from seed: brand new workshops for 2018. Stay tuned!

Merry Christmas to everyone who took part in our art and landscape workshops last year. 2017 has been creative, fun and busy, with many important collaborations with community centres, charities and other institutions across London, including Coin Street Community Builders, St. Luke’s Community Centre , The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and most recently the Architecture Foundation (AF).

This was only the beginning for It’s All Green To Me – stay tuned for news of next year’s workshops and courses. Till then, enjoy the festive spirit!

International Volunteer Day (IVD): an interview to celebrate it with United Nations

11 December, 2017
The award-winning team of the RHS’ school gardening competition

December 5 is United Nations (UN) International Volunteer Day (IVD), and the Landscape Institute (LI) wanted to celebrate its volunteers. Dan Walker and Robert Holden and I gave an interview and talked about our experience as volunteers for the LI. We spoke about the importance of contributing, the challenges and all the value that volunteer work brings to our lives.

You can read the full interview here.

Landscape Institute Award-Winner for 2017!

23 November, 2017
Lily Bakratsa Award Winner
LI Awards 2017, Copyright Paulina Blasiak
Lily Bakratsa - Outstanding Volunteer Award
This year the LI has inaugurated an award for Volunteer of the Year

I am delighted to report that I received an award this year from the Landscape Institute (LI).

Farrer Huxley Associates (FHA) nominated me for the LI’s Volunteer of the Year Award, for the project we did with Swanlea School in east London, where we designed a balcony garden and then entered the project for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

It was a great honour to receive the award in this category, and also meet Bill Bryson in person! I would like to congratulate the other two winners in the category, Dan Walker and Robert Holden, for their wonderful volunteer work in Scotland and London respectively.

Till next year’s ceremony – congratulations to all award-winners for their projects in the UK. You can see all the categories and winners here.

A new collaboration with The Architecture Foundation

19 November, 2017

ATaleofThreeCities_big (1)

I am very excited about this new venture I am starting, together with The Architecture Foundation, leading architecture walks on the South Bank, London.

Our new series is called ‘The Architecture of Life’, and will focus on built and natural landmarks of the South Bank. We start from London Eye, making our way to the More London development. You will hear stories about the past and the present architecture and landscape of the most vibrant part of London. Tours will last 2 hours – book your ticket and come along!

More info here

Filming for The Landscape Institute

2 November, 2017
Face of the Landscape Filming Day
Backstage photoshoot with Rob and Will from Green.Tv

Very excited this week, as I have been selected to be one of the ten Faces of the Landscape Profession in the UK. I hope I can transmit all my passion and enthusiasm for what I chose to study at quite a late age in my life, I’d say, after discovering that landscape education was missing from my training as an architect.

If I had to go back in time and choose a Master’s degree again, I would probably follow the same courses of study. Landscape architecture taught me to enjoy being outdoors, to read nature and be able to understand its mechanisms. Above all, it led me to set up It’s All Green To Me – what could be more fun than my landscape workshops?

Interview at ProLandscaper magazine

10 October, 2017
ProLandscaper Magazine
Extract from the interview at ProLandscaper magazine, September issue

It was a great pleasure to give an interview to Ellie from ProLandscaper magazine a couple of weeks ago; we talked about the importance of horticulture and the need there is in the design industry for professionals with knowledge and experience of plants.

We also talked about the Green Plan It Challenge and the impact the competition had on the pupils of Swanlea School – the team that won the competition and later entered for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. A great achievement for 15-year-old secondary school students!

I cannot stress enough the importance of incorporating horticulture, gardening and design into the school/educational agenda. More than being just professions, horticulture and landscape architecture can give you essential tools for life: a problem-solving attitude, strategic thinking, patience and a love of nature. Learning to grow your own tomatoes is a bonus!

Mastering the Art of Gardening – More Qualifications

1 September, 2017
In order to maintain our landscape design as we first visualised it, we need to be able to understand what the maintenance tasks are for the design to reach its full potential. How many of us know the growth habits of the plants we choose for our schemes?

A new era is about to begin, as I start my training as a professional gardener at Capel Manor College in Crystal Palace this September. Busy times ahead; I hope I can balance gardening training with my 9-5 office work!

I must say that I cannot wait to spend some time outdoors, looking after plants, sowing meadows and pruning trees.

What could be more useful and enjoyable for a landscape architect than spending time outdoors learning about plants? A day in a garden for any landscape architect is similar to Winter Wonderland for a toddler!

We Fundraised for Breast Cancer Care (BCC)

14 August, 2017

Breats Cancer Care Support

This year we joined forces with Emma from Colourpoint and held a strawberry tea party to fundraise for Breast Cancer Care (BCC), UK. Emma showed us the secrets of her letterpress business, but before that we had some yummy treats and heard a little about breast cancer and how to check ourselves.

Thank you all for the homemade cakes you brought in – special thanks to Xoan, for his valuable contribution on his working day!

Congrats to Peter and Alex for winning our competitions, helping to reach to the total of £186.86! It was a great day and we were happy to be part of it.

Till next time!

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – Royals For a Day

05 July, 2017
At the opening of Hampton Court Palace Flower show in June 2017

We finally made it: our project with the Swanley School and Farrer Huxley Associates was built and was entered for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2017. We got many compliments and very positive feedback from visitors.  Princess Sophie of Wessex stopped by to find out more about us – who would ever have thought that we could have got that far, and attract royal attention?

Above is a glimpse of what the garden looked like – congratulations to all pupils and teaching staff of Swanley School, and to Chris Young (RHS) who coordinated the project’s building process.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show next?

The Garden Magazine, April’s Issue

22 April, 2017
Read the article 'Education for growth' from the April 2017 issue of The Garden magazine, which looks at the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
Read the article ‘Education for growth’ from the April 2017 issue of The Garden magazine, which looks at the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

Our project with the Swanley School in east London and Farrer Huxley Associates is featured in The Garden magazine, in April’s issue. We hope that we will inspire more schools to embrace and embed horticulture into education!

The full article with photos here.

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – Here We Come!

9 April, 2017


I am very excited about the news I received a little while ago – the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) informed me that the ‘Balcony Gardens of Whitechapel’ project is moving forward, to take part in the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

The project was the winner of the 2016 ‘Green Plan It’ competition. Farrer Huxley Associates, with me as mentor, partnered with Swanley School, in Whitechapel, east London, to design a community project. We came up with the idea of transforming the balconies of the nearby council flats into small gardens, where residents could store their tools and grow herbs for their daily meals.

The journey now continues and we have three months to prepare: we need to build a 1-1 model of our green balcony module, transport it to the site and make it look perfect for showing at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in early July.

After the show, the garden will be transported back to Swanley School, where it will later be part of Swanley’s Art Week.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Turns Green

31 March, 2017


I am happy to announce my collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): we have some new, exciting and fun ideas for workshops coming up from April onwards. We will draw, construct, observe, get dirty and have loads of fun outside whilst talking and learning about architecture and landscape.

Bring your family, friends and parents and jump aboard a ‘Green Architecture’ journey.

Is It All Green To You? 

The Story Behind The Adventure

22 January, 2017


Today is a special day for It’s All Green To Me and I thought to share the story of how this creative adventure started.

From a very young age and as long as I can remember, I was fascinated by drawings, sketches, collages, and arts and crafts in general. My parents encouraged me in this respect by coming up with opportunities to keep me busy creating. This never stopped, and led me to choose architecture as the only creative profession I could possibly think of.

Later on in life and thanks to running a design project with young inmates in my hometown, I changed into landscape architecture. I realised that happiness could be found outside a building’s four walls, by allowing us to reconnect with nature. I learnt this from the inmates themselves: who else could be more of an expert than someone who spends 24hours in the same space?

There was no turning back for me from that point onwards. Becoming a landscape architect has broadened my design horizons but has also made me view life in a very different way; less-perfection-more-fun-and-enjoyment kind of way. This is because landscape architecture, more than a design profession, is a life science. It urges you to observe, to explore and to connect with a system. Being outdoors is the only way a landscape architect can learn to design with nature.

I am aware that most of my friends who already work as landscape architects are very tempted to say: OK, but what about the deadlines? The long hours in front of a computer? The arguments with contractors on site? Whilst all of these are real struggles (and I cannot deny any of the above) there is a side to this profession that we all tend to forget about: that it can bring about real change; to the natural and built environment and communities.

But to bring about remarkable change, we still have a long way to go in education. I am not talking about academic education: I mean primary education. Learning to observe, to use our senses, to admire, to contemplate, to ‘read’ our surroundings, to experiment, to draw and to make.

Since I went into landscape, I kept thinking: If we had all been educated as landscape architects from a young age, we would probably be happier adults, living in healthier cities.

All these thoughts, experiences and values, from my early childhood to my adult and professional life together with my love for landscape and design have resulted in me setting up It’s All Green To Me, offering landscape design education to anyone from the ages of 10-110. My aim is to deliver the most imaginative class you will ever experience so that you leave the class inspired and feeling you have gained knowledge in design and landscape.

If you also think that “Green is the new Black” – feel free to “like” the Facebook page, leave a comment, make a question or even better join a workshop!


Being a Landscape Ambassador – a first impression

16 December, 2016

A very interesting day yesterday at Alexandra Palace, when I and my friend Karolina wore our Ambassador hats and promoted our profession to a careers fair for A-Level students.

It is important that people are informed about what landscape architecture is and how it can influence and shape the future of our cities. Landscape architects have a holistic knowledge of science and art, a combination of skills that is unique in the construction industry. A landscape architect is asked to design a space with ecology, art, biology, horticulture, architecture and urban planning in mind.

We had some very good candidates at the fair, who asked for more in-depth information about the profession and the differences between being an architect and a landscape architect. As a general observation, I noticed that many people seemed to confuse landscape architecture with gardening or horticulture, and were surprised to hear that as landscape architects we spend most of our time indoors designing and sketching. The reality is that we would give anything to spend some time outdoors planting and digging!

Highlight of the day? Nearly all the mums wished they were landscape architects: a new target group to promote our profession to!

‘Green Plan It’ Challenge: Award-winners!

12 December, 2016


Very excited to share this news, as we have been awarded first prize for the RHS’s ‘Green Plan It’ Challenge! Team Swanleaf, with a group of five students, gave an outstanding speech and presentation on their project ‘Balcony Gardens of Whitechapel’. I hope that everyone enjoyed the challenge as much as I did: a prize is a great reward for all the hard work of the past ten weeks. It put a smile on everyone’s faces. Here’s to the next challenge!