The Gardens, weeds & words podcast, Series 1 Episode 13

Joined-up gardening

with Jo Thompson

“Ask a busy person”, they say, if you want something done. And since I wanted to talk about how our gardens join together to form something more than the sum of their parts, who better to ask than garden designer Jo Thompson, whose Springwatch garden at the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival was a celebration of just that.

Beginning with a kleptomaniac fox, I’m taking a look at how the wildlife that we find in our gardens fails to recognise the distinctions between properties which we humans are so keen to enforce. There’s a reading from Kate Bradbury’s The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, where Kate considers how, in spite of this, we can still get in the way. It’s a powerful passage from a wonderful book, beautifully read by Rachel Coldbreath.

And then, of course, the interview with Jo. I’m always hugely grateful for folk making time to come and talk to me on the podcast, particularly when they’re in the middle of several projects, and having the opportunity to talk about the Springwatch garden just as Hampton Court began was a bonus. We manage to cover gardening with neighbours, rewilding, whether or not a wildlife garden has to look messy and – no surprise for anyone who knows Jo’s work – roses!

I hope you enjoy this episode – please continue to share the podcast on social media, and if you’d really like to brighten my day, leave a review on iTunes or your podcast app of choice. Or drop me a note in the comments section below, having listened on the embedded player on this page.

Gardens, weeds and words podcast, S01E12show notes

A blend of slow radio, gardening advice and conversation, and readings from the best garden and wildlife writing.

These notes may contain affiliate links. 

Garden soundtrack

The fox who ate my socks.

Joined-up gardens

Micro book review

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury, published by Bloomsbury 2018

Full review

Extract read by Rachel Coldbreath

Interview with Jo Thompson 07:46

08:27 The BBC Springwatch garden at RHS Hampton Court Flower show

17:05 Talking to the neighbours

17:44 Does a wildlife garden have to look messy?

21:45 Letting nature find its balance

22:46 A conversation with nature – a cooperative way to garden

26:12 An ongoing relationship between a designer and her gardens

30:42 The concept of “rewilding” in garden design

34:08 Jo’s planting style

38:21 Jo’s love for roses: what’s the attraction of roses?

Arne Maynard’s head gardener Steve Lannin on roses

An article by Sarah Raven in the Telegraph on growing roses at Sissinghurst

A huge thank you to Jo for joining me on this episode. You can find her here:

Light touch gardening – a winning situation for all

Thanks also to Rachel Coldbreath for reading the extract from The Bumblebee Flies Anyway. You can find Rachel on Twitter at

And I’m indebted as ever to Richard Chivers, for giving voice to the Garden Jargon Buster. You can find Richard’s blog here, or seek him out on Instagram or Twitter


You can hear find the podcast trailer and the first four episodes here, either on iTunes or on Switcher.

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.