Q&A with Jonathan Webster, curator RHS Garden Rosemoor

Tell us about your career path so far.

My grandmother passed on her passion for plants and gardening.  After leaving school, I started an apprenticeship at Ventnor Botanic Garden on the Isle of Wight where I grew up, followed by further training on the mainland.  I was focussed on working for the RHS and landed a job at Wisley, where I worked for nine years before moving down to Rosemoor with my wife, where I’ve been for 17 years – acquiring two children in the process

What do I love about Rosemoor?

The setting and the way Rosemoor blends with the valley landscape and surrounding woodlands is wonderful.  It also has a great horticultural heritage, having been donated by the skilled plantswoman Lady Anne Berry, who created the garden.  I miss her emails - she liked to chat about how certain plants in her garden were doing - and we continue to develop her plant collections which include rare wonders from roses to regional Devon apple varieties.

What are some of the spring highlights at Rosemoor?

Following the crocus, the meadow areas have mass drifts of two of my favourite bulbs Narcissus bulbocodium, the rather unusual hoop-petticoat daffodil and N. cyclamineus.  We also have a great collection of Japanese cherries, which are linked to Lady Anne’s friendship with the plant collector Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram - of the famous cherry tree.  I love the way our Prunus 'Jō-nioi', with fragrant white blossom shines over the tall hedges in the formal garden.

What changes have you overseen?

In recent years the Devon apple orchard was developed and planted.  One of the biggest changes was the construction of our cool garden.  Working with designer Jo Thompson, this colour-themed garden of blues and whites, with lots of water complements our hot garden and has some great plant combinations to inspire visitors.

Do you have a favourite spot in the garden?

The garden is so diverse with over 20 themed ‘rooms, but the stone garden in Lady Anne’s original garden is one of my favourite places.  The planting and aged 1930's landscaping has a sense of calmness.  I also enjoy the established Camellia × williamsii 'Saint Ewe' that dominate the garden and flower for such a long period.