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National Gardening Week

10 April 2017

It’s National Gardening Week from 10th – 16th April 2017 so we thought there’s no better time than to give you an insight into our gardens at Hothorpe Hall & The Woodlands – and more importantly, the team behind the scenes.

As guests enter down the drive towards Hothorpe Hall, it’s obvious to see that the manor house is in substantial grounds – 12 acres to be exact – which clearly takes some work to maintain and improve. Grounds Manager, Wes Coe, along with his seasonal staff play a vital part in our team. Wes took a few minutes out of the garden to give us the lowdown…

“I love Hothorpe Hall & The Woodlands’ grounds as there’s so much diversity for me to manage and for guests to enjoy! Surrounding our woodlands venue there’s a wooded area with river running through it as well as landscaped lawns, whereas at Hothorpe we have a mix of lawns, a kitchen garden, sun terraces, outdoor games areas and some wooded parts. It means that my working days are diverse and offer different challenges, which gives me real job satisfaction.”

Tell us about what’s happening in the grounds at the moment?

“Spring is upon us so it’s a busy time for me! Now the weather is drier and the sun is often out, lawn mowing has started and is regular. I’ve recently planted a lot of seeds which are in the Hothorpe greenhouse germinating so they’re ready for me to plant in the beds so they flower through the summer.

My autumn and winter work has come to fruition so guests will see the rockery with the Daffodils, Tulips and other spring flowers out as they drive in to the car park at the moment. The Clematis and Roses around the grounds are starting to bud, but it’ll be sometime yet before we get to enjoy the vibrant colours of their flowers. I take a lot of pride in the grassy ‘roundabout’ which is the first thing people see as they enter over the cattle grid and arrive at Hothorpe Hall. I like the lawn to be neat and the beds surrounding it to be tidy and colourful. First impressions count!” 

You’ve worked at Hothorpe Hall & The Woodlands for over a year now – how did you get into your career?

“My parents are both keen gardeners so I acquired my love of gardening and the outdoors from them but gardening wasn’t the career path I took at sixth form college. From the age of 13 I worked on a local farm (while still at school) and when I continued on to sixth form to study IT and science, I made some money by cutting lawns and doing some gardening work for neighbours. After I finished sixth form, I spent a few months labouring for a building company but jumped at the opportunity in January 2016 to get back into the garden and hone my skills at Hothorpe Hall.”

Who do you turn to for advice?

“You learn a lot on the job and I’ve learned a lot over the years I’ve been gardening about what works best, but I find The Plant Man at Braybrooke fantastic for advice on plants and I learn something new from him every time we speak.”

What’s your average day working at Hothorpe Hall?

“There isn’t one! My day changes by season and is very much weather dependant. Although rain can stop me doing some jobs, I’m still out in all weathers. A working day in April typically starts at about 8am and during the day I tidy up and thin out flower beds, I may visit a local garden centre to purchase stock, I plant new perennials, mow the lawns and tidy the edges.”

What’s your favourite task in the garden?

“I love planting the summer bedding baskets and seeing them flower through the summer. We have two hanging baskets that hang from the manor house entrance that are in many wedding photos through the summer season, so I am fully aware of their importance to look good!”

What plans do you have for the gardens at Hothorpe Hall & The Woodlands?

“I would love to develop more formal beds around the grounds that display colour, precision and are for show. Watch this space!”

We’re keen to encourage guests to enjoy our gardens more, but often it’s a case of not knowing what’s out there. So next time you stay with us, ask at Reception for advice and then perhaps have a little wander…

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