Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden designed by Jennifer Jones

Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.  This World Garden was built by Surrey Hills Landscaping and sponsored by Journey Latin America.  The RHS judges awarded the Inca Garden a Silver Medal.

Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has been designed to convey a sense of adventure and travel to its visitors.  The Inca Garden reflects the experiences of American explorer Hiram Bingham, who discovered the ‘lost’ Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, high in the Peruvian Andes, in 1911.

I caught up with Jennifer Jones, the designer of Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden, to find out more about this interesting garden, which was designed for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.

Jennifer Jones, pictured in the Journey Latin America's Inca Garden that she designed for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.
Jennifer Jones, pictured in the Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden that she designed for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.

PB: Hi Jennifer, are you pleased with the garden?

JJ: I am, I’m really pleased with it. Yes!

JJ: I didn’t know that much about tropical plants before, so it’s been really interesting – I’ve learnt so much. I’ve learnt about whole new section of plants that I just didn’t know that much about.

PB: How long were you researching the plants for the garden?

JJ: So we started researching last October. You have to submit the first designs in December. We’ve got quite a lot of plants that are from South America in the garden. I was really lucky, I found a good nursery, Desert to Jungle in Somerset, where I got a lot of my plants.

PB: What will happen to the plants, when the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show finishes?

JJ: I think some of them are going to go back to Desert to Jungle; I’ve also been in touch with The Living Rainforest in Berkshire. I sent them a list with the plants I have – they’ll have anything we can give them.  Plants will also be donated to a scheme called Planton Movil.

I’ve designed the garden so that we won’t throw very much away. All the stone is going back to the stone supplier – it can be re-used again, and all the plants are going to go to a good home.

The Journey Latin America's Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones. This World Show Garden was sponsored by Journey Latin America, and built by Surrey Hills Landscaping. The RHS judges awarded the garden a Silver Medal, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.
The Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones. This World Show Garden was sponsored by Journey Latin America, and built by Surrey Hills Landscaping. The RHS judges awarded the garden a Silver Medal, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.

PB: What’s the experience of designing the garden been like?

JJ: Well, Journey Latin America has been great to sponsor the garden, and it’s been a great opportunity for me, it’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s been a really interesting garden, because JLA are all about visiting countries, so they were really keen to have a public entrance – so during the show, the public will be able to go in and out, which I really like.

PB: Yes, it’s wonderful to see a Show Garden that visitors to the show can access, and really experience themselves.

JJ: The thing I like about the garden is that it’s quite colourful. It’s quite a fun garden, and I hope it’ll inspire people.

PB: I am sure your garden will inspire many people. I like your vegetables and your courgettes.

JJ: They’re traditional Inca crops.

PB: Yes, I have grown all of these vegetables – they are fun to grow.

JJ: We’ve also grown the golden-berry, it’s like a little golden berry that they eat – Physalis. Out of them all, in a pot they seemed the easiest and didn’t do so badly. The Quinoa was a bit unhappy in a pot. It’s nearly ready to harvest – it needs a little bit longer, I think. This plant here is lovely too – it’s mint, the Mexican mint.

The Journey Latin America's Inca Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, featured a three-tiered terrace, designed to represent the famous terraces of Machu Picchu. Traditional Inca food crops were a feature in the garden, including Quinoa, Oca, Physalis peruviana, courgettes, and potatoes.
The Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, featured a three-tiered terrace, designed to represent the famous terraces of Machu Picchu. Traditional Inca food crops were a feature in the garden, including Quinoa, Oca, Physalis peruviana, courgettes, and potatoes.

JJ:  We’ve got some Schinus molle, even though it’s very small, it’s very beautiful.

PB: Oh, yes, that was in Andy Sturgeon’s garden at Chelsea this year, it is very beautiful indeed.

JJ: And we’ve got some orchids too.

PB: Oh yes, I see, you’ve got a Miltonia and Masdevallias too.

JJ: There’s a similar variety at Machu Picchu, and there’s an orange on there, you can just about see it. They’re really interesting orchids. They’re such vibrant colours; the ones at Machu Picchu tend to be more orange and scarlet.  I wanted to get South American varieties, because Machu Pitchu is famous for its orchids, but to do that for an outside garden is pretty tricky!  I felt like I had to have some, I’ve tried to put them in sheltered places, so they get a little bit of shade.

The Journey Latin America's Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones. This World Show Garden featured colourful, exotic flowers, interesting foliage plants and traditional Inca food crops.
The Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones. This World Show Garden featured colourful, exotic flowers, interesting foliage plants and traditional Inca food crops.

PB: Did you have to travel out to Machu Pitchu to carry out your research?

JJ: I didn’t get to travel out there, but I have been before.  It’s amazing!  We’ve also got a Brugmansia over there, but it’s not flowering, which is a shame.  It’s going to flower – it has a bud – but not quite there, but maybe by the end of next week!

PB: Who built the garden?

JJ: Surrey Hills Landscaping – Mark Leverton, built the garden, they did all the stone.  Mark was really good – we had a little blip this morning, he was straight here, helping us out – he was unflappable and very professional.

PB: And is there anyone else you’d like to thank?

JJ: I’ve mentioned JLA, who have been great, Rob from Desert to Jungle who has been great with the plants, and my family who have been great as well!  My mum has helped out too.  Surrey Hills Landscaping have been brilliant and very professional.  It’s been a great experience all round!

The Journey Latin America's Inca Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, featured a three-tiered terrace, designed to represent the famous terraces of Machu Picchu.
The Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, featured a three-tiered terrace, designed to represent the famous terraces of Machu Picchu.

A shortened version of this interview was first published in the September 2016 edition of Vantage Point Magazine

Other articles that may interest you…………..

To see the planting list for Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden, designed by Jennifer Jones for the 2016 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, please click here.

To see photographs of other gardens and exhibits at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, please click here.

To see the top 20 shortlisted plants, including the finalists, and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2016, please click here.

To read about the UNHCR: ‘Border Control’ Garden, please click here.

To read about Hogarth Hostas exhibits of miniature and small Hostas at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, please click here.

To read about the Butterfly Dome at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, please click here.

For gardening advice for mid-September to mid-October, please click here.

For a calendar of 2016 specialist plant fairs, festivals, sales and swaps, please click here.

For special offers and tips for gardeners on ways to save money, please click here.

To read about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

For information about beautiful gardens to visit in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex, please click here.

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