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Davina McCall visits RHS Chelsea Flower Show designer Jo Thompson

By Lesley Bellew

Davina McCall says RHS Chelsea 2019 silver-gilt medal-winner Jo Thompson is "truly genius".

Jo, who started her garden design business in Kent, and now has assignments across the globe, created a garden to celebrate the 260th year of Wedgwood and reflects the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of founder Josiah Wedgwood.

Davina says she likes to visit RHS Chelsea every year to support Jo.

Silver-gilt medal-winner Jo Thompson Picture: Ian West
Silver-gilt medal-winner Jo Thompson Picture: Ian West

She said: "I love this year’s garden – all those wonderful pastel colours are absolutely gorgeous."

Jo has become a design trailbrazer and this year’s soft palette of pinks, oranges, peach and lemon will no doubt be one of the take-home trends of 2019.

Jo said: "If I suggested those colours to a client, they would freak. But with the architecture of rust and orange I went for a tone, and a clash.

"The apricot Buff Beauty rose, the ‘knicker pink’ Bonica and Phlox Creme Brûlée alongside the fresh green of the angelica which also gives structure.

"It is exuberant and I had hoped it would work. There was no full practice run."

Davina McCall with Jo Thompson at RHS Chelsea 2019 Picture: Ian West
Davina McCall with Jo Thompson at RHS Chelsea 2019 Picture: Ian West
Part of Jo's 2019 Chelsea Flower Show garden Picture: Ian West
Part of Jo's 2019 Chelsea Flower Show garden Picture: Ian West

The garden is also inspiring for DIY gardeners as the arches, which look like steel and stone, are made of wood and plyboard plastered with a weatherproof finish by Novacolor Italia while the stone paving is Jura Beige Limestone with funky chairs by Spanish company Expormim.

Pink Charm iris also plays its part in the Wedgwood garden, supplied by Sue Marshall of Marden-based Iris of Sissinghurst.

More of her irises, including Langport, with its rich, jewel-like purple presence worked well with blues and lavenders in the Donkey Sanctuary Artisan Garden, while the main Cayeux Iris stand in the Great Pavilion had been brought over from the Cayeux Nursery, in the Loire, and brought on by the Iris of Sissinghurst team.

Richard Cayeux, whose family has supplied Monet’s garden in Giverny for generations, says weather extremes have helped his iris this week.

Lesley Bellew with Jo Thompson at RHS Chelsea 2019 Picture: Ian West
Lesley Bellew with Jo Thompson at RHS Chelsea 2019 Picture: Ian West

He said: "The cold winter in 2017-18, followed by a hot summer, has suited the iris.

"Last year it was hard, but now they are at their best for years. I am very happy."

Paul Harris, of Brookfield Nurseries, Ashford, added another gold to his collection, impressing the judges with his pristine hostas in every shade of green to cream.

Chilstone, of Chiddingstone, near Tonbridge, also presented a sophisticated the trade stand enhanced by blue and purple planting supplied by How Green Nursery, near Edenbridge.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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