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Trailfinders Undiscovered Latin America Garden. Picture; Jonathan Snow/RHS
Trailfinders Undiscovered Latin America Garden. Picture; Jonathan Snow/RHS

Jonathan Snow returns to Main Avenue

Following his silver-gilt Main Avenue debut at RHS Chelsea in 2018 with the Trailfinders South African Wine Estate Show Garden, Jonathan Snow is returning to work with the travel company again this year.

Jonathan and Trailfinders want to transport visitors to the temperate rainforests of South America, specifically Chile.

He said: “For me, Chelsea has always been first and foremost about the plants, and I wanted to do something completely different if I got the chance to design another Main Avenue garden.

“We actually know quite a few Chilean plants, here in the UK, so I started to read up on where they like to grow naturally.

“I discovered a land of snow-capped mountains covered in ancient forests and dense vegetation, dotted with dramatic waterfalls, and serene, gin clear lakes, and that was the start of the design.”

Plant hunting trips

He will be working with Mark Richardson’s Stewart Landscape Construction and Dave Root’s Kelways Plants.

Jonathan has also been on two plant hunting trips to Chile: “I absolutely love finding plants I know, growing in their natural environment and I think this knowledge is the key to becoming both a better gardener and a better designer.”

Something of a biogeographic island as a result of millions of years of isolation, Chile has a high number of endemic plants.

The temperate rainforest zone occurs towards the south of the country and is characterised by high rainfall and relatively cool temperatures, a climate not dissimilar to parts of the UK.

He added: “I’m really looking forward to showcasing many well – known garden plants in their natural habitat so look out for gunneras, ferns, fuchsias, geums and a few other surprises.

Dramatic landscape

“The landscape I’m trying to represent is dramatic, and I’ve only got a limited area, and height, in which to convey that drama.

“I want noisy cascading waterfalls sluicing down a steep rock face, plunging into a lake, so the garden will be situated on the Rock Back, at the top of Main Avenue, to give us a bit of extra height.”

The garden will feature a red walkway, winding its way around the rugged landscape, trees and water.

Jonathan said: “As you would expect, most of the walkways are functional, but I want to elevate this into something a bit more sculptural and beautiful and juxtapose it with the lush natural planting.

“We’re still in the early stages of building it but it’s exciting to see my drawings come to life.”

Follow Jonathan’s progress on Instagram at jonathansnowdesign.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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