Chelsea Wedgwood Garden creates inspirational feminine space

Multi-award winning UK designer, Jo Thompson, will create a striking space for a strong successful woman for the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show for sponsor Wedgwood.

Nature, flowers and horticulture have always been at the heart of Wedgwood’s design work and this has been the source of inspiration for Jo’s Chelsea garden.

Jo is delighted to be working with Wedgwood and has loved delving back into the colours and concepts of the past to bring them into the present with a fresh modern take: “Wedgwood’s vision is for an inspirational, innovative and feminine space with a feeling of romance, sophistication and elegance. I wanted to embrace these aspects and create a garden for a strong, successful woman,” explains Jo.

The centrepiece of the garden is our amazing sculptural pavilion which represents the curves of femininity and innovation at the same time. It will appear to sweep as if tracing the path of a firefly and will touch the ground with an almost imperceptible lightness – it should delight and surprise visitors,” she continued.

There are some beautiful sculptural elements to the design including the bronze pavilion – designed in collaboration with ‘The Seduction of Curves’ author Allan McRobbie and the department of engineering at Cambridge University. Inspiration for the pavilion was drawn from renowned sculptor Barbara Hepworth’s delicate Winged Figure, crafted in 1961 for the flagship John Lewis store in Oxford Street. The sweeping lines of Hepworth’s String Figure, described in art literature as ‘rejecting the weight and solidity of male forebears’, are also referenced in the weightlessness of the bronze structure.

Behind the sculpture sits a pond with stepping stones, leading to a terrace stone seat and coffee table, looking as if they are from the same boulder split in half from which the whole garden can be admired.

The stunning ‘Kintsugi’ style path references the repair of broken porcelain by filling the cracks with precious metal, celebrating the history and journey of the piece rather than denying its past.

Planting is typical of Jo’s style – elegant and sophisticated – and, as mentioned above, will echo the 18th century colour trials that Josiah Wedgwood undertook. Jo Thompson (pictured left) has a particular flair with planting, so we can expect something special. For this garden she will use willow species Salix exigua, dotted throughout the garden, to reference the iconic Wedgwood pattern as well as weeping feature trees.

A selection of acer campestre and hornbeam trees will border the garden to screen out the rest of the world and create a contemplative atmosphere, while the floral colour scheme reflecting Josiah Wedgwood’s colour trials will feature periwinkle, inky purple, rust and peach and pale yellow.

Standout plants will include Didiscus caeruleus Blue Lace, Eremurus ‘Romance’ Salvia x jamensis ‘Melen’, Thalictrum dasycarpum and Valeriana alliariifolia ‘Sirene’.

Jo is a Chelsea favourite and has worked on gardens at the iconic show for the past seven years. She is a member of the RHS Gardens Committee, a Gardens Advisor to RHS Rosemoor, a Registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers and lectures nationally and internationally as well as tutoring at the renowned London College of Design. Her exquisite planting and design flair has led her to be considered one of the UK’s leading plantswomen and designers.

If Jo’s previous Chelsea gardens are anything to go by, the Wedgwood garden will be something special and one to look out for.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from the 22nd to 27th May 2018. For information please visit

Photo credits: Photo of Jo Thompson credit Rachel Warne Photography