Background Story No1
Trailfinders, Undiscovered Latin America
Designer Jonathan Snow
This is the first in a series of pieces giving some background to the projects that we are working on for Chelsea 2019.
This is our second adventure with Jonathan Snow. In 2018 we helped him create a South African fire ravaged fynbos landscape with South African native plants. For 2019 we are working on a Valdivian temperate forest from the West Coast of Chile, about midway down this amazing country. It is basically a cold rainforest with an “other world” feel to it. The garden will be built on a steep slope covered in lush temperate rainforest planting that enjoys high rainfall, cool temperatures, and wet conditions. There will be dramatic waterfalls cascading into a large pool surrounded by lush plants.
Back in the summer Jon and I jumped on a plane to Scotland to visit Benmore botanic garden on an island on the West coast, where they have created the look and feel of a Valdivian temperate forest, high up in the hills. It's an amazing landscape. The 2 predominant trees are Nothofagus and Araucaria, with Chilean bamboo and giant gunnera adding to the exotic feel of the landscape. It was an inspirational visit which was followed by a trip to Edinburgh Botanics to talk to their Chilean plant expert, and also visit their own Chilean garden, filled with lush Chilean plants.
These two visits along with a mass of online research enabled Jon to put together a basic plant list, which we have been amending and adding to ever since. Many of the plants that we hoped to use are so rare in cultivation that we are still looking for them, but many others we sourced and potted more easily. We cannot, of course, import plants directly from Chile. A large number of plants are being grown from seed to add to the mix. We will reveal more of the plants as we get closer to the show.
In November, Jonathan made a very long journey to Chile to explore the rainforest at first hand, specifically to examine the structure of the landscape, and how the different species grow together and interact. This means that when the garden starts to be created at the show, the planting is as authentic as we can possibly make it.
This project will certainly be a Chelsea 1st, and we are hugely excited as well as a bit anxious that we can pull it off! Keep watching for regular updates and pics!