David Glenn is a plantsman and leading exponent of Dry Climate Gardening in Australia. His garden Lambley is located at Ascot, 12 km North of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. The development of the garden coincided with the prolonged drought experienced throughout much of Eastern Australia over the period 2000 to 2010 and earlier. At the same time, the garden was recognised internationally for its innovative use of plant types and forms. Along with William Martin's Wigandia developed around the same time, it represented one of the first really considered responses to the challenges of gardening in the Australian climate without resorting to native plantings. David was born in the UK to a family with gardening in its blood. He emigrated to Australia in the 1960s. David and his still-life painter wife, Criss Canning, established Lambley in 1987. Prior to this time Glenn conducted a wholesale plant nursery at Olinda in Melbourne's, Dandenong Ranges. The name of the garden refers to Glenn's childhood home, Lambley Village in Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom. Glenn is widely acknowledged as developing the exemplar for dry climate gardening in the southern hemisphere. The noted Australian designer Paul Bangay has described Lambley as "One of the most famous" dry perennial gardens in the world. While New Zealand Gardener magazine has described Lambley as 'one of the best examples of gardening with perennials' in the world.
A number of references cite the influence of Glenn's artist wife Criss Canning's instinct for 'shape, texture and colour' in the success of the garden. In comment attributed to Glenn in 2017 he stated that, "...garden design is very difficult, and having someone working with me on that is great", in a reference to his wife's role in designing the garden.
Allied with his capacity for garden design and plant selection is coupled an unerring ability as a plantsman. Plants selected by Glenn are grown throughout the world. The patented Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow' is to be found in gardens throughout Europe and the United States where it is grown for its frost tolerance and intense variegation which is said to be quite unmatched in the Genus. The plant featured on the cover of the Royal Horticultural Society journal 'The Plantsman' in March 2013. In a similar tribute, Agastache 'Sweet Lili' has been lauded by Australian garden designers as a 'superlative new selection' Paul Bangay has written of the same plant, “I use this in all my gardens as it is such a long-flowering plant and has a very distinct and unusual flower colour”.
Glenn's approach to garden design is characterised as fluid by some references. The highly regarded Australian gardening writer Michael McCoy cites an instance in which Glenn confessed his frustration with garden writers, "that built whole articles around ideas they’d had for planting combinations, when it was his experience...that most ideas don’t work, or need very substantial fine-tuning or reconfiguring before they can be made to work. At very best they lead to an idea that does work".
One aspect that differentiates Glenn's approach from other Australian designers is his use of bulbous plants. Glenn has written of his success with bulbs in the climate of inland south-eastern Australia. In one instance Glenn has written of bulbs from Turkey which are planted in his garden that "prefer to be dry during summer, the drier the better".
Glenn is distinguished in Australian Garden Design schools of thought because of the breadth of his plant selection pallette. He has said that: "I choose plants because of their beauty, and because I want to make a beautiful garden...I don't want to make a political statement". The latter being a reference to what he refers to as a "rather intolerant horticultural chauvinism" [towards Australian plants] exhibited by Australian garden designers.
David Glenn's garden has been widely lauded as a 'dynamic' and exciting work where Glenn's design principles find their fullest expression. One writer identifies a key design idea as the creation of a series of 'waves and fountains' in the garden. Other sources have identified the work as "a must-see for obsessive plant-aholics and anyone needing inspiration for gardening in Australia’s hot and dry climate”. In 2017 the gardens were open daily and hosting public events.
In November 2015 Glenn was named as a member of the newly formed Australian Garden Council, an initiative championed by television gardening personality, Graham Ross to advance gardening in Australia. Tim Entwisle from the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens and gardening writer Trevor Nottle were among the other noteworthy figures also named as members of the founding council.