Hello and welcome!

My name is Jo Thompson and I’m so delighted to have you here in my proper home: The Gardening Mind. This is a worldwide gardening club, where we get to explore the world of gardens and gardening.

So why a newsletter and why now? Well, I’d like to take you on a journey in The Gardening Mind: I want to teach you everything I know. I also want to continue to build this worldwide community of garden and nature lovers. I want us to lean on one another. Ask questions. Have the occasional meet-up online and in real life.

Whether you sign up for free or upgrade to a paid subscription, I hope you’ll join me.

Let’s do this:

As a paid subscriber, you get:

  • All of my writing. Every so often there’s a completely free article, but usually, the key part is reserved for paid subscribers.

  • Access to all design courses such as Small Garden Design, Border Design, and How to Garden series. You can join in at any time.

  • We’ve got a Book Club for paid subscribers. We’re about to start reading a new book - again you as a paid subscriber can join in any time on the Chat.

  • You’ll be able to participate in our ‘Ask Me Anything Gardener’s Question Time’ section where you can ask me anything - garden questions, gardening careers - anything garden-related

  • You also get access to all the private Chats, where you get to ask questions and to start conversations. If you’ve got a garden query, as a paid subscriber you get to ask that question.

  • We have real life meet-ups - look out for the one coming in June

  • Excerpts from my recent writing and upcoming books as well as the latest news

  • Early access to new dates as they are released for my one-to-one mentoring Meetings

    I want to make this the very best value for you, for less than £1 a week. The number of paid subscribers who have told me that this really is the very best value gardening newsletter there is, says a lot. Look at the quotes below - they are genuine.

    And importantly, there is NO ADVERTISING, and just as importantly, NO AI-generated text. It’s all me.

    This is the original, real deal.

Free subscribers have access to

  • Occasional free posts

  • The regular Chat threads

About me

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 gardening helper Basil here), 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 nearly 30 years ago now, but in that time I’ve accumulated so much knowledge- as well as a hell of a lot of garden trivia! But here’s the problem: who do I have to pass it on to?

The answer is YOU.

Some of the wonderful thing readers have said:

“Jo Thompson is renowned for imbuing her gardens with atmosphere, something she achieves with the help of a highly tuned sense of colour.” — The Sunday Times

“A designer who has always been refreshingly down to earth, Thompson is now making her colour-led approach even more accessible through The Gardening Mind, a Substack newsletter that shares insights about designing for all kinds of gardens.” —Country Living

“The sophistication of the designs and level of craftsmanship and plantsmanship elevate them beyond their setting.” — The Washington Post

“I love your encouraging and friendly spirit!” — Will Taylor

“Jo is a brilliant garden designer and shares her considerable expertise generously in The Gardening Mind. If you’re after planting or design tips, subscribe!” — Clare Foster, Gardens Editor of House & Garden

“I love your writing voice, as well as your approach to gardens and plants.”

“How refreshing it was to read something that I actually understood! I'm not a complete beginner but I've only really been gardening for a few years and find most gardening related media a bit complex and unachievable! I'm so excited to be part of your community. Thank you!” 

“All the elements go to make up the very best gardening magazine available anywhere, whether in print or online. Here's to another great year with The Gardening Mind!”

"As a budding garden designer I appreciate your very practical advice on aesthetics and garden choices. I also recently got your Gardener's Palette and find your very practical insights and guidance, as well as your references to art and culture, hugely valuable and engaging.“

“I love seeing the 'workings' behind a beautiful garden photo: the thought - and long experience - that can turn bare earth into a that little slice of heaven we call a garden. Your case studies are utterly beguiling, and I'm looking forward to exploring more.”

“I’m a landscape architect in the American West working largely on farms and rural landscapes. I am here to learn and to glean from your experience how to create softer, more contextual designs."

Join our community

Do come and 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 - 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

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.

Subscribe to The Gardening Mind by Jo Thompson

The original, go-to gardening community with how-to tips, visits to inspirational gardens and flower shows, plant advice, and garden design guidance from an RHS Chelsea award-winning garden designer.


Hi I’m Jo - I’m one of the UK’s top garden designers, and an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner. I also write books, and here on Substack I’m sharing everything I’ve learned about gardens, garden design and gardening.