Over the years we have watched the gardens flourish as David introduced new designs and borders, while also maintaining the historic garden features, such as the famous yew trees at the front of the House and the kitchen garden in the Private Walled Garden. We were fortunate to catch David in the potting shed to ask him a few questions about his role at Bowood…
How did you come to work at Bowood?
I started working part-time 15 years ago at Bowood, while still working on the family dairy and arable farm. After a few months, I was asked to head the team and become full-time at Bowood, at that time farming was going through a difficult time, and having enjoyed my experience in the garden it seemed a good opportunity for a career change. The Garden Designer & Consultant Rosie Abel-Smith started at the same time and became my tutor. After a couple of years, I was given the title of Head Gardener.
How have the gardens changed over the years at Bowood?
We have continued to build on the gardens, adding many new borders, particularly in the Private Walled Garden. Gardens should always be changing by adding new varieties and types of plants particularly as we have a changing climate and moving towards healthier plants that don’t require the use of chemicals.
Bowood has a variety of gardens, do you have a particular favourite ?
I enjoy all aspects of the garden and happy to work in all areas but one area I particularly enjoy is working on the Herbaceous Border. It is a challenge to find plants with a long series of interest including before and after flowering. It is my aim to have colour in the borders from spring through to autumn. I am also particularly passionate about roses and at Bowood we have many! ‘Rosie Cushion’, a rose you can find on the East Border is beautiful, a healthy medium-sized shrub in shades of pink that lasts for weeks.
Another favourite is ‘Gentle Hermione’ this one can be found on the lower terrace of Bowood House, it has the most amazing scent.
Do you have a favourite season?
One thing about working outdoors is you get to enjoy all the seasons. Winter can seem long but it is also when we do many of the interesting jobs and make plans for the coming year. Spring for me is often the most exciting time of year as it is full of hope and growth. While summer you get to reap the rewards of the jobs and plans we did during the winter. By Autumn I get to sit back a little and enjoy the autumn colours and maybe relax a little after a busy summer.
Do you have any gardening tips for this time of year?
Regular deadheading to help encourage more blooms throughout the summer and to keep up the watering!