Jo Thompson MSGD tells Zia Allaway about her plans for the design of the new Spiral Garden
Jo Thompson MSGD has won eight RHS Chelsea medals, including three Golds, as well as a host of international accolades. She is giving the show a miss in 2017 in order to focus on other work, which includes a redesign of the Spiral Garden at RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon.
WHAT WAS YOUR BRIEF FROM THE RHS?
The RHS came to me with a view to redesign the Spiral Garden, which had originally been designed by Tom Stuart-Smith MSGD about 20 years ago. Curator Jon Webster and his team wanted a fresh look for this area, and asked me to come up with a brand new design that would complement the recently redesigned Hot Garden adjacent to it.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE DESIGN?
My main inspiration was the site, which is at the bottom of a slope, and very wet and prone to flooding. This part of Devon has high rainfall too, so it seemed sensible to go with what we have and make a feature of the water. In my design, water flows out of a raised curved viewing platform, which encloses part of the garden, and into a series of rivulets. It then disappears below ground and re-emerges in a bog garden at the bottom of the slope, much as it would in a natural landscape.
TELL US ABOUT THE PLANTING AND OTHER FEATURES
The planting design has yet to be finalised with the RHS, but we are planning to include some unusual moisture-loving plants that can’t be grown elsewhere at Rosemoor. I am proposing a mixed scheme of trees, shrubs, perennials and bog plants, with a blue and silver palette that will contrast with the fiery colours in the Hot Garden next door and lend this space a completely different look. The paved areas between the planting beds are designed to make the whole garden easily accessible for all, including disabled people.
WHEN IS THE GARDEN DUE TO OPEN?
Work is about to begin, and I believe the new garden is due to open to the public in 2018. www.jothompson-garden-design.co.uk