I got into gardening through my father who was a very keen gardener in his spare time and my earliest gardening memory was when I was eight years old, helping my dad to dig the vegetable garden.
The Savill & Valley Gardens of Windsor Great Park are really fascinating with so much to offer in terms of history, royal connections, plant diversity, landscape use and seasonal interest. They are looked after by a dedicated group of gardeners and are justifiably one of the finest woodland gardens in the country.
The projects that come to mind are the recent irrigation and path upgrades in The Savill Garden which have greatly improved the visitor experience. These paths, in particular, have opened areas that they hadn’t been able to access in the past. In The Valley Gardens, the recent projects have included restoring the Punch Bowl, including the cutting back of Kurume Azaleas, tackling the old drainage system which had collapsed and replanting and planting a wider a more diverse collection of plants.
Going forwards, we will be looking at restoring the Rhododendron Collection throughout the gardens, the shelter belts around the Gardens and keeping one step ahead of pests and diseases and most importantly, keeping all the gardens interesting and enjoyable for the many thousands of visitors.
As Keeper of the Gardens, I play an important role, with the supervisors, in keeping all aspects of the Gardens integral design in focus. Already, in the short term, certain areas of the Gardens have undergone some changes and there are more to come, including selecting new and improved plants, keeping our 8 National Collections and Champion Trees propagated and displayed for all to see across the Gardens.
My tips of places to visit are The Heather Garden in the Valley and Winter Garden in The Savill Garden in winter, the Daffodil Meadow in the Valley and Magnolias at The Savill Garden in spring. Summer in The Savill Garden has the great displays of colourful borders and in autumn both gardens are full of interesting plants for leaf, berries and interest. The Great Park is simply the best place in the world!