We are very fortunate to have a talented new Head Gardener. Here Caroline, our Marketing Manager interviews Woolley Grange’s newest recruit.
I find Aldetha in the garden lightly pruning an Abeilia grandiflora.
As she explains to me about pruning and taking cuttings, her passion for plants is evident. A qualified trained horticulturist and RHS tutor, she teaches horticulture at Bristol University Botanical Gardens as well as running a small local farm with her husband.
I find myself wondering, how on earth she’ll find time for the rather busy job of running the 14 acre grounds at Woolley. As if to read my thoughts, she enthusiastically starts to tell me of how she wants to develop the gardens here, growing more cut flowers for the hotel and to sell locally, introducing new varieties of produce for the kitchen, adding in some interesting features to make the gardens even more lovely for adults and children to enjoy and running some teaching events for budding gardeners. Clearly not one to rest on her Laurels, Lobelia or anything else for that matter!
Aldetha’s background is impressive, most recently working for Tom Stuart-Smith and Sarah Raven and previously for well known private estates such as Daylesford and JCB, as well as Lackham College. At Daylesford she was Head Gardener for cut flowers and house plants and grew produce for the chefs.
We wander on around the gardens, meeting members of the gardening team whom she has obviously got to know fairly well in her first week. Ellie is taking cuttings, Amy is driving the tractor for one of the last, vast mowings and Jen is harvesting crops for both the kitchen and the weekly vegetable basket scheme for local residents (if interested Aldetha informs me we currently have a few spaces available on the scheme).
I ask her how she has found her first week at Woolley Grange. ‘I’m loving it’ she says, ‘not just the place, which is gorgeous, but the people too. I have been overwhelmed by just how friendly everyone here is.’
Welcome to our family Aldetha.