Issue1Feb2016Our mailing address is:

Bohemia Walled Garden Association

C/O Hastings Borough Council
Town Hall, Queens Road
Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1QR
United Kingdom

Walled Garden Available?


We’re looking to take on and/or restore a walled garden in the south Northumberland area, specifically near Hexham and Allendale. Our aim is to restore it to it’s former glory as part of a project to use horticulture to combat mental illness and social isolation. Could you give us any advice as to how to go about finding one or, indeed, do you know of anything suitable?

Many thanks,

Sam Coulson and Jane Pryde.

Garden Manager


R H S Gardens

Hyde Hall

37.5 hours per week (any 5 days in 7)


Circa £33,529 per annum


Excite your passion for horticulture and come and join the team at the RHS


With the RHS investing over £7m at RHS Garden Hyde Hall including a number of new garden features, the opportunity this position offers working in this unique Essex based garden cannot be underestimated. The 365 acre estate currently receives over 240,000 visitors annually with the aim to expand and grow these numbers over the coming years.


As part of the garden expansion, we are looking for a new Garden Manager to be responsible for these new features, the Nursery, Winter Garden, Perennial Meadows, along with existing plantings. You will be responsible for a small team of your own and along with other Garden Managers, you will help contribute in assisting the wider team as well as 75 seasonal volunteers.


The candidate will be expected to have a relevant horticultural qualification, high level of general knowledge and technical horticultural expertise, with significant post qualification experience in horticulture. They should also have proven ability with high level management and the capacity to educate and motivate teams of staff. Excellent analytical, problem solving and decision-making skills would also be essential.


For a full job description and person specification please visit our website at http://www.rhs.org.uk/About-Us/Jobs/Vacancies. Apply by completing the Standard Application Form and emailing to recruitment@rhs.org.uk.



All applications should be received by Friday 4pm, 4 March 2016


Experienced, confident, well presented and dynamic individual with excellent horticultural and organizational skills sought for the new role of Assistant Head Gardener at Weston Park.

The person appointed to the role will report directly to the Head Gardener and will assist with the day to day management and development of the Gardens, ensuring the highest standards of conservation, horticulture and visitor experience.

Knowledge of managing budgets and finances is essential, together with sound IT skills and computer literacy. The successful candidate will have significant practical experience in horticulture, supported by appropriate qualifications to RHS Level 3 (or equivalent level of vocational experience) and will be able to demonstrate a good level of plantsmanship, together with a wide range of horticultural techniques, covering an extensive range of plant types.

Excellent people skills are required, as it is a requirement of the role to oversee and deliver visitor experience events.

Full-time position. Competitive salary, circa £20,000. Accommodation will be available on the Estate if required. Staff benefits in line with working at this beautiful Estate.

Please apply in writing only, with current Curriculum Vitae, to:

Elizabeth Birch,

Weston Park Enterprises Ltd.,

Weston Park,


Nr. Shifnal,


TF11 8LE.

Or, by email to: elizabeth@weston-park.com.

The closing date for applications, for this new position, is Friday 12th February, 2016.

Weston Park is a Stately Home on the South Staffordshire/Shropshire border. The Park is owned and maintained in perpetuity for the Nation, by the Weston Park Foundation. This independent charitable trust was established in 1986, with the sole aim of preserving The House, The Park, The Gardens and the collections within The House in perpetuity for the benefit of the Nation. This is partly achieved together with Weston Park Enterprises Limited, which is the wholly owned subsidiary responsible for managing the Estate and generating income through corporate and private events, public admissions and education, to assist the Foundation in achieving its goals as an Educational Charitable Trust (see: http://www.weston-park.com).

With over thirty acres of gardens, within the 1,000 acre Park, including the two unique “Capability” Brown Pleasure Grounds of Temple Wood and Shrewsbury Walk, the successful applicant will report directly to the Head Gardener and will assist with the day to day management and development of the Gardens, taking delegated responsibility for aspects of the work. He or she will help ensure the highest standards of conservation, horticulture and visitor experience.

A team member in a large complex garden, operating to a five year plan, with day to day operational responsibility for special areas or functions. There is a high proportion of practical work demanded by this role.

The successful applicant may lead on small to medium projects; assist in setting and delivering the work programme and be involved in garden training on site. It will be a requirement of the role to oversee and deliver visitor experience events, such as walks and talks.

A gradual transfer of skills from the Head Gardener to the Assistant Head Gardener is envisaged to ensure a supportive environment exists for the successful applicant to develop his or her skill set and gain experience over time.

A knowledge of managing budgets and finances is essential. The successful applicant may hold a delegated budget and manage project budgets. A sound knowledge of IT and computer literacy is required for this position as well as the ability to write articles and blogs.

The individual appointed will have significant practical experience in horticulture, supported by appropriate qualifications to RHS Level 3 (or equivalent level of vocational experience) and will be able to demonstrate a good level of plantsmanship / plant husbandry skills. He or she will have knowledge of a wide range of horticultural techniques, covering a wide range of plant types and be competent with machinery/equipment with accreditation, as required, for Health and Safety compliance.

A sound knowledge of how to assess and manage risk effectively would be helpful, as would knowledge of all Health and Safety Compliance requirements relevant to Horticulture.

The successful applicant will be immaculately presented and have good people skills enabling strong relationships to be built and maintained, both internally and externally. Experience of directing staff and managing volunteers is essential, together with leadership skills to include coaching, team development, motivation and excellent written and verbal communication skills.

November/December Musings

Gardening Volunteer at Tatton Park Walled Kitchen Garden, Knutsford, Cheshire
The two Fig Houses in the Kitchen Garden have now been restored, and are looking good. All the weeds that have accumulated in them during the summer whilst the glasshouses were open to the elements have been removed and winter salads and vegetables have been sown in the beds. The Herb beds in front of the glasshouses are also being weeded and restored, and rearrangements taking place.
Gales are expected, so trees in the Parkland were being inspected for likely problems. The Team planted at least 2,000 daffodil bulbs in the woodland where the path from the car park meanders through to the Stable Yard, from which the Gardens can be accessed, and of course the café, restaurant and shops. Only another 6,000 to go.
Having had a week away, more apples from the Orchard trees were lying in the grass, so two of us spent the day picking and sorting and barrowing the windfalls: the rotten ones went to the compost heap, the reasonable ones went to the Home Farm for the pigs, whose squeals of delight when they heard the wheelbarrow were a joy to hear. The chickens also appreciated some pumpkins, which make their egg yolks yellower.
Two Tuesdays of rain saw most of the Team in the Apple Store, sorting out and labelling the many old varieties, checking carefully for any peck holes made by the Jackdaws, followed earlier in the year by the wasps and ladybirds. We always know when the fruit is ripe for picking when the Jackdaws descend on the Orchard from the surrounding trees. This is handy for the late maturing pears and russet apples.
A fair Tuesday saw four of us picking up the late apples and pears blown off in the gales, and then checking the other trees, removing any mummified fruit and fruitlets which had not developed, and generally tidying them up. As soon as we moved off, the Jackdaws, who were lined up on the walls, swooped down to take their fill.
November and December are proving to be very windy months. Already we have had Storms Abigail, Barney, Clodagh and Desmond. My husband says ‘fame at last’ having a storm named after him, but hastens to add that’s the only resemblance. ☺
A fairly unusual event in that the whole Team were working together in the Orchard area: some were in the actual Orchard, the others were clearing the borders either side of the Pergola at the side of the Orchard. These borders were sown with a wild flower mix and proved a real hit with everyone. However, their glory is now past, so the brash was cleared and the beds dug over for the winter.
On wet days in December when no gardening is possible, the gardeners usefully occupy their time by expertly making Christmas wreaths, garlands and arrangements both for decorating the Mansion and for sale in the Garden Shop.
Now all the fruit has been picked and the leaves have fallen, our next job is to do some maintenance pruning of the standalone trees in the Orchard Lawn. Now is the time to thin out dense growth and help the trees rejuvenate. The overall aim is to develop an open, airy tree with evenly spaced branches and a hollow centre: think wine glass or goblet shape. The crowns may also need to be ‘lifted’ where branches are growing downwards and preventing the mower from doing its job. This pruning task will take until at least February (if not longer), weather permitting; cutting away minor branches, rubbing, crossing or congested laterals. Long vertical thin shoots, called ‘water shoots’ should also be removed from the centre and from mature limbs. All this remedial pruning will be followed up next summer to complete the job and maybe the height of some trees will be reduced, to enable easier picking.
The Volunteers’ Christmas Lunch is the finale of our volunteering year. Most of the 70+ volunteers were able to attend, and a jolly time was enjoyed. We hope a summer buffet will come our way too as these occasions are the only time we can meet the volunteer teams from the other days of the week.
I hope you all had a good festive season. I also hope, if you enjoyed my 2015 Musings, that someone else will Muse as well. I end this year-end Musing in wishing you all a bounteous 2016.

Can anyone help?

Can anyone help with this enquiry, which comes from Andrew Derrick, Director of The Architectural History Practice Ltd.?
If so, please reply to andrew.derrick@architecturalhistory.co.uk who is preparing a Conservation Management Plan for the kitchen garden at Holkham:

The six-acre walled garden at Holkham, built in the 1780s, is surrounded by a kidney-shaped ha-ha with brick retaining walls, dug/built at the same time. OS map attached.
This all seems a bit belt and braces – after all, the walls themselves offered protection from deer etc.
There were fruit trees and other saplings outside the walls which would have also needed protection, but surely this doesn’t explain such a massive undertaking.
It looks like conspicuous consumption and one-upmanship on the Earl of Leicester’s part.


September and October musings

Gardening Volunteer at Tatton Park Walled Kitchen Garden, Knutsford, Cheshire

Dodging the occasional shower the Tuesday Team was let loose on the apple cordons and espaliers following a brief explanatory tutorial by the Gaffer. The transformation of the trees back to neatness was like a time-lapse film, and was greatly enjoyed by the Team as it was a standing-up job with opportunity for cheery banter, which made a great change from several weeks of being on their knees weeding in the Kitchen Garden. Visitors strolling round the Orchard were fascinated by the intense activity of the happy ‘pruners’ and asked lots of questions.
In the Kitchen Garden apple trees are trained over arches, making short tunnels over each of the four paths where they meet in the middle. The following week four of us spent the day pruning these apple trees back to the column arches; the top growth over the arches needs a ladder, so the gardeners will take this job in hand. The rest of the Team were weeding, picking, planting, sowing winter lettuce, etc.
The Orchard Lawn was covered in windfalls, attended by wasps, flies, ladybirds and butterflies. Two of us spent the day, with litter pickers (‘cos we’re too old to keep touching our toes ☺) picking up the fallen fruit, sorting into good, not too bad and rotten. Hopefully the not too bad ones will go to the pigs at the Home Farm; the good ones will be used by the volunteers in a variety of culinary ways. In the loft above the garden office is a small lonely apple press which hopefully could be used to make apple juice, and if the juice is allowed to mature with a bit of added sugar, cider.
Autumn mists and cooler mornings herald our annual Apple Tasting Day on the first Sunday in October. The varieties grown at Tatton are historic and not available in your local greengrocer. Lots of interest and enjoyable tasting by visitors.
More windfalls to be gathered; I spent the day pruning out this year’s fruited canes/vines from the six Marionberries (raspberry/blackberry/tayberry cross). The next job was to thin out the canes/vines and tie in the remaining to fruit next year. The ‘cavalry’ came in the form of other team members, who cleared up the pruned-out canes and the fallen leaves from the vines. Another job ticked off the list.
All too soon the magnificent pumpkins were gathered in from the Kitchen Garden and proudly displayed along the garden entrance corridor, together with Halloween decorations to delight the many children on a half-term holiday visit to the Gardens. The Halloween theme continued through the Gardens and shrieks of delight could be heard as yet another ‘ghost’ was added to the count.
Early morning mist decorates spiders webs with jewelled beads, and the sheep and deer appear appropriately as ghostly figures.
The season marches on and soon it will be Bonfire Night, with woodsmoke curling over the Kitchen Garden from the wood beyond, where wood ash is steadily increasing in volume, soon to be spread round the productive fruit garden, to be washed in by winter rains.


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