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Show gardens: Trailfinders

Garden designer Jonathan Snow returns to Main Avenue for a third successive year with sponsor Trailfinders

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: Show gardens: Trailfinders by designer Jonathan Snow

After following up his 2018 South African debut with, in 2019 on Rock Bank, an ambitious take on the Chilean temperate rainforests, Jonathan Snow is returning to Main Avenue in September, for a third year running, with another destination focused garden alongside Trailfinders, the UK’s No.1 travel company. This year, Trailfinders are celebrating 50 years in business by returning to their first commercial destination, Kathmandu, often considered to be the gateway to the Himalayas. The Himalayas are a mountainous region spread across five countries: Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan and this year, Jonathan is aiming to capture the essence of the Himalayan foothills, through a representation of its plants, culture and landscape.

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: Show gardens: Trailfinders by designer Jonathan Snow

Due to the extreme ranges of altitude, the climatic zones of the Himalayan region vary from alpine at the higher elevations, through to tropical, at lower levels. For his garden however, Jonathan will be using plants that occur in the temperate zone, at between roughly 2,000m and 4,000m above sea level.

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: Show gardens: Trailfinders by designer Jonathan Snow

Birch, hydrangea, rhododendron and Pinus wallichiana will feature as some of the more recognisable key trees and shrubs. Then expect to see late summer flowering perennials such as actaeas, persicarias and thalictrums alongside ferns and large leaved rodgersias and rheums, and mixed in with more exotic looking tropical plants such as scheffleras, hedychiums, colocasias and cautleyas.

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: Show gardens: Trailfinders by designer Jonathan Snow

As for the garden’s hard landscaping elements, Jonathan is aiming to distill some of the more recognisable features found in the Himalayas and use them in a way that complements the planting and captures the spirit of the region. Water will be ever present, mainly in the form of a stream running through the garden, but also as man-made rills channeling the excess water along and across stone paths. 

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: Show gardens: Trailfinders by designer Jonathan Snow

The garden will also feature water driven prayer wheels and a discrete array of prayer flags, all sourced by Jonathan in Nepal on his last plant hunting trip. These little details will help contribute to the special atmosphere of the Himalayan foothills.

Plant list:

Trees

Cedrus deodara
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii
Pinus wallichiana
Rhododendron (any hardy, evergreen variety)

Shrubs

Cotoneaster simonsii
Brugmansia suaveolens
Fargesia rufa
Osmanthus fragrans
Hydrangea aspera 'Hot Chocolate'
Schefflera rhododendrifolia
Potentilla fruticosa
Brassaiopsis mitis

Perennials

Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'
Asplenium scolopendrium
Dryopteris wallichiana
Actaea racemosa
Geranium clarkei 'Kashmir White'
Inula hookeri
Corydalis flexuosa
Geranium wallichianum 'Buxton's Variety'
Rubus tricolor
Parochetus communis subsp. africanus
Morina longifolia
Cautleya spicata
Hedychium gardnerianum
Persicaria affinis 'Darjeeling Red'
Hedychium coronarium
Eupatorium cannabinum
Anemone 'Wild Swan'
Rodgersia pinnata 'Elegans'
Inula racemosa
Thalictrum 'Splendide White'
Thalictrum 'Splendide'
Persicaria orientalis
Strobilanthes wallichii
Salvia hians
Lythrum salicaria
Persicaria amplexicaulis
Bergenia ciliata
Rheum palmatum (any variety)
Hedychium wardii