From Manchester Camerata To Galaxy Gardens

Posted on June 27, 2013

Budding landscape designer Jonathan Price, former principal cello for Manchester Camerata, is one of only five winners to have their garden designs displayed at the RHS Tatton Flower Show this July.

Jonathan was principal cello with Manchester Camerata from 1981 until 2010, following his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. Over the course of thirty years he has performed with a wide variety of chamber ensembles and orchestras, making recordings for CDs and for the BBC, and travelling throughout Europe and to North and South America, Australia, Japan, Israel and Hawaii. He has also had the pleasure of working with artists from Pavarotti to Pink Floyd, Sir Colin Davis to George Shearing and Shirley Bassey.

Jonathan Price

Currently studying for a BSc in Garden & Landscape Design at Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Jonathan’s studies are funded by the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.  Having always had a lifelong interest in gardens and in 20-21st century design, art and architecture, Jonathan decided to pursue a career in landscape design in 2010 after being diagnosed with the neurological condition focal dystonia, which left him unable to play the cello but otherwise perfectly healthy.

As part of his studies, Jonathan entered a competition with the Royal Horticultural Society to design a garden for the RHS Tatton Flower Show. His design was one of only five chosen to go on display as part of the Galaxy Gardens category at the event in Tatton Park which runs from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th July.

Galaxy Gardens

Talking about this year’s theme, Jonathan says, “The Galaxy Gardens category was inspired by Tatton Park’s location close to Jodrell Bank Observatory and the garden I have designed is a response to the awe inspiring nature of a galaxy and the scientific rules that govern it.”  Jonathan’s garden is entitled 無 (Mu-No Thing) and takes its name from the Japanese symbol  無, which means ‘not have’, or, ‘nothing’. Jonathan explains, “The garden is a reflection on the insignificance of mankind within the context of a galaxy and is also inspired by a number of Einstein’s theories, including the curvature of space/time and gravitational fields”. Structurally, the garden takes the form of a Japanese gravel garden, which are viewed from the outside, rather than walked through. They are designed to be calm, meditative spaces – perfect to contemplate the nature of the universe from!

What will the garden look like?

As with most things to do with nature and design, one of the best ways to experience a garden is to see it in person.  We’ll be updating this page with photographs once the garden is finished.  Until then, the image to the right shows the structure of the garden, and the following is a description from Jonathan:

“無 (Mu-No Thing) consists of an elliptical spiral of raked gravel with concave cross section, through which are planted clusters of individual foliage plants such as Cordylines, Phormiums, Agaves, grasses and Sempervivums grouped by colour. The whole is enclosed by a steel and coloured cord vortex structure, rising three metres into the air.”

Jonathan Price

What Next?

Sculpture and structural and geometric designs are an important feature of Jonathan’s work as is, perhaps unsurprisingly given his musical background, the relationship between music and structure.  “I have just finished the second year of my degree and next year I will be exploring garden designs inspired by music, but I don’t want to give too much away just yet! I am interested in the work of designers and artists such Charles Jencks and Andy Goldsworthy.”

If you would like to see Jonathan’s design realised in all of its contemplative glory, pay a visit to the RHS Tatton Flower Show 2013 at Tatton Park from July 25th to July 28th.