It has been an exciting time for me as I have returned to working for the National Trust, as a Gardener at Hanbury Hall and Gardens in Worcestershire.
After an eventful eight months since leaving Hidcote Manor Garden, I find myself back within the Trust and starting a new chapter in my career. It is not, however, new surroundings for me, as I actually spent a year at Hanbury as a student while completing my horticulture training.
I learnt so much on that work placement, spending one day every week with the team and learning masses from the experienced gardeners and passionate volunteers. They took me under their wing and supported me through while I was a newbie to horticulture and undoubtedly helped mould me into the gardener I am today.
Not long under three years later I arrive back at Hanbury and it feels exciting to be able to now be able to use the skills and experience I have picked up in my time away to help look after this formal countryside masterpiece. Parts of the site may have transformed, and some faces have changed, but I walked back in with a new lease of life and optimistic about my future there.
To give a quick summation of Hanbury Hall and Gardens, as I am sure I will exhaustively cover the place in posts and pictures on here over the coming months, it is a country house, garden and park located in Worcestershire. The centrepiece is the baroque style hall built in 1710, which is open for visitors, and its formal gardens have been lovingly recreated.
At its heart is the stunning sunken formal parterre, while it also features a fruit garden, orangery, orchard, wilderness and bowling green. There is also an organic walled garden that grows an abundance of vegetables and fruit that is used by the on-site tea room and also sold to visitors.
The gardens require a lot of work to keep them at the highest of standards, and key to that is a band of loyal and passionate volunteers that assist the small garden team.
I really respect volunteers; they work incredibly hard, are knowledgeable, and are vital to get work done. I also enjoy working with garden volunteers. I was a volunteer at Hanbury myself and then went full circle to looking after and leading volunteers at Hidcote, so I have seen things from both sides.
It has been curious coming back and recognising some faces, and them remembering me, and filling them in on what I have been up. And there has been a lot of people to meet, hands to shake, and names to try to remember – it may take some time for them all to sink in. That is on top of getting stuck into the work and learning the ropes.
Overall I am confident my years at Hidcote and time as an organic kitchen gardener, coupled with my prior time at Hanbury, will stand me in good stead. When I look forward I am excited at the times ahead as I find my feet and start to make my mark on the gardens.
Stay tuned for posts, pictures and updates as the work goes on and the garden starts to bloom and prosper over the coming months.