Jo Thompson will be building her garden ‘Stop the Spread’ for sponsors Fera at next year’s Royal Horticultural Society’s Centenary Chelsea Flower Show.
This is a garden of two halves with a serious message behind the design. It is that our native trees and plants are under threat from pests, diseases and invasive species and that Fera needs our help.
On one side there is an avenue of dead trees leading to a deep and dark pool of water surrounding an island holding a single ash seedling. In contrast, the other side has a sunken garden filled with blue, white and yellow plants, bordered by towering trees. Concrete panels etched with magnified images of Chalara and Phytophthera partly surround the garden. Tom Stogdon has been commissioned to create a central sculpture.
For designer Jo Thompson, at Chelsea for the fourth time, her ‘stop the spread’ garden contains a personal message:
“We are increasingly guilty of taking our landscapes for granted. Our ancestors nurtured these landscapes in the patient knowledge that they would never see them fully grown but future generations would. I’m keen that we follow their lead – for example we can safeguard our horticultural heritage through simple actions such as the careful buying of plants and large specimen trees and shrubs from trusted growers.”
In the coming months Jo will be selecting and checking on the trees and plants for the garden.
The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) is an Executive Agency of the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs http://www.defra.gov.uk/fera
The garden’s sponsors are Defra, National Trust, Welsh Government, Scottish Government, Forestry Commission, Timber and Pallet Federation. All these organisations work closely with Fera in delivery of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan and the GB Invasive Non-native Species Framework Strategy.
Jo Thompson is a landscape and garden designer based in Kent. Jo designs a wide range of gardens from tiny rooftop spaces to residential gardens, public spaces and country estates, both in the UK and overseas.