Hello and welcome!

My name is Jo Thompson and I’m so delighted to have you here in my new home: The Gardening Mind. 

So who am I? Well, most people know me as a garden designer. I sometimes pop up on Gardener’s World. Over the years I’ve even won a few Chelsea gold medals for my work, which to this day still surprises me, truth be told. I’m also a rose obsessive, a Labrador-lover (expect to see lots of my two gardening helpers here, Basil and Rush) as well as someone who passionately believes that anyone - and I mean even the most clueless gardener in the world - can become a wonderful plants person. How do I know this? Because that clueless person used to be me. 

I knew nothing about gardening until I hit my 30s. Before that I was a primary school teacher dreaming of a little more space in my tiny west London flat. I found that space by creating a garden oasis on a teeny forgotten terrace that came with the flat. I didn’t do much to it - a few plants, flowers, a couple of chairs..nothing more. Certainly nothing extravagant. It not only transformed my home, but it transformed me. After that I retrained to become a garden designer. That was 25 years ago now, but in that time I’ve accumulated so much knowledge- as well as a hell of a lot garden trivia! But here’s the problem: who do I have to pass it on to? The answer, it occurred to me, is YOU.

So that’s the journey I’d like to take you on in The Gardening Mind. I want to teach you everything I know. But I also want to build a community of garden and nature lovers. I want us to lean on one another. Ask questions. Have the occasional meet-up. Who knows where this will take us? This really is only the beginning.


I believe very strongly that everyone should have access to words and knowledge. That is why my main newsletter will go out every weekend and be available to all for free. You can share it with friends and across social media if you want to be helpful but really all I ask is that you hopefully enjoy what you read. And if you don’t, you can email me. Free subscribers will also be part of my Gardening Mind community. You can comment, ask questions and will be invited to some of our Ask Me Anything Gardener’s Question Time sessions, where yes, you can ask me anything!

There’s so much more: in the Podcast section you can find live podcasts and poetry readings, sometimes book readings - there’s something for everyone.

For some people, however, you might want  a little more and therefore you could become a paid subscriber:


Firstly, paid subscribers allow me to write The Gardening Mind week after week and keep it free for everyone. For that I am beyond grateful. You’re the backbone and without you, it simply wouldn’t exist. That’s the truth of it.

So here’s what I give in return to you as a paid subscriber:

Access to all design courses: the first of these, Small Garden Design, has launched, and you can join in at any time.

Access to our ‘Ask Me Anything Gardener’s Question Time’ section where we have a really good delve into what’s on my mind, and share ideas and inspirations. A true mixed bag, in this paid-for area there’ll also be further courses going into depth on how I design gardens, tips and advice on garden design and planting ideas, news updates, and some previews of current work.

Excerpts from my recent writing and upcoming books are also included in the paying subscribers area, as well as the latest news and early access to new dates as they are released, for my one-to-one mentoring Meetings, with a discounted price for these.

I’ll also be giving you previews to the Access All Areas section: behind-the-scenes tours of events in the gardening world. Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court, and more….. The main point is that being a paying subscriber will be worth it - I need to make it worth your support, and worth your while. It works out at £1.30 a week - and I have committed to ensuring that all the extras you receive are worth it. All your support so far has enabled me to devote a chunk of my week to creating content for you. I’d love to give you more.



Founding members enable me to spend even more time working on content. As a Founding Member, you will receive a signed copy of my latest book, The Gardener’s Palette, plus free access to all Zoom courses and a big discount on all one-to-one mentoring sessions with me, which in the long run works out much cheaper if you decide to have regular sessions.

A founding principle is that for every 100 paying subscribers, I donate a subscription to someone who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it and who would enjoy it. One you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to let me know if you know that person.

Stay up-to-date

You won’t have to worry about missing anything. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. I did think very carefully about emails from me appearing in your inbox, but I figured that if you didn’t want to hear from me, you wouldn’t subscribe in the first place. So I got over that concern.

Join the crew

Please do join us - you’ll be part of a warm, friendly, welcoming community of people who share your interests. These interests in the world of all things to do with the magic of nature and landscape are the best interests - so we’d love to have you with us. And you can also gift this subscription - I’ve checked around and there’s agreement that gifting a subscription makes for an easy thoughtful present, and avoids the buying of stuff which you kind of feel people just don’t want any more.

Give a gift subscription

Thank you for reading to the bottom of this - please join us!

To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.

Subscribe to The Gardening Mind

Welcome to this community, inspired by the magic of nature and landscapes. Gardens, art, design, regenerative methods, plants, trees, books, walks, how-tos and a podcast. If any of these catch your eye, then this newsletter is very definitely for you.


Jo Thompson 

Landscape designer and garden writer. Lover of nature, lover of life, lover of the land.