I’m Laura, and I’m delighted to be the newest member of the gardening team here at Marwood Hill Gardens.
I have been a trained horticulturalist for the last 8 years and have previously worked both for the famous gardener, flower arranger, cook and writer Sarah Raven at her home and trials garden, Perch Hill, and for the privately owned, historically significant, Pashley Manor Gardens, famous for its large walled gardens and annual tulip displays, both in East Sussex.
Last year, as a result of changing working habits following the COVID-19 pandemic, my family were finally able to pursue a long-held dream of relocating to beautiful North Devon, and enjoying all this wonderful part of the country has to offer to an already quite outdoorsy family. One of the added joys of which was the opportunity to explore a whole new set of gardens! And after a quick look online to find out the top-rated gardens in the region, I was drawn to visit Marwood Hill Gardens first, and was not disappointed! I visited at the end of May and was immediately won over by the beauty of the many candelabra Primulas and Japanese Iris by the top lake, and the immense colour of the bog garden, as well as the garden’s immense peacefulness. I didn’t even manage to explore a fraction of the whole garden that day with my youngest child with me who only had little legs at the time and was most interested in the cafe! I also didn’t really notice how many stunning Magnolia’s there are in the garden, one of my absolute favourite trees, and something I’m very much looking forward to seeing in full bloom this Spring.
Towards the end of summer, whilst at a flower show at the nearby RHS garden Rosemoor, I was fortunate to have the opportunity of chatting with some of the Marwood Hill garden team who said they’re always on the lookout for more volunteers. What a wonderful opportunity to spend more time in and explore more of the garden I’d loved on my first visit!
I volunteered over the winter months and was able to get stuck into lots of propagation and pruning jobs, in particular bringing the roses in the walled garden back under control. The more time I spent in the gardens, the more I liked the way they combine my favourite elements of the places I’d worked before, informality and a relaxed atmosphere, the opportunity to raise new plants for sale or use in the garden, and the maintenance and ongoing enhancement of a large, mature, landscaped garden. I was therefore delighted when a chance arose to formally join the team.
It is a great pleasure to work in such beautiful surroundings and have the opportunity to learn from such a great plantsman as the gardens’ now-curator, and ex-head gardener, Malcolm Pharoah, whilst being involved in leading the gardens forward into the future.