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Richard, St Michaels resident gardener

It’s a Gardeners World

Meet Richard, Resident St Michaels Gardener

Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up on the Isle of Mann and moved to Cornwall about 3 and half years ago. I’ve always been fascinated by wildlife and horticulture, which led me to study for a Masters in Ecology. So far, I’ve had a varied and interesting career, starting work for The Wildlife Trust in 2011 as an Estate Warden for a nature reserve, as well as for The Manx National Heritage, then FERA – the Government’s Wildlife Team and DEFRA where I spent much of my time surveying different plants.

How did you get into the horticultural world and why?

I first found a passion for the outdoors and gardening when I was completing my A-Levels and needed to make a bit of extra money on the side. This lead me to studying ecology and wildlife at university made my chosen career path a fairly obvious one. It’s always felt like a natural progression. At first, I was much more focused on wildlife, however, the further I’ve progressed in my career, the more things have crossed over with horticulture, which eventually led to my role as Gardener here at St Michaels.

What are the highlights for the St Michaels garden in autumn?

I’m asked lots of questions by guests about the gardens here, and I think the most popular questions relate to the Cryptomeria Japonica in the bottom garden and its unusual twisted and sunken shape. In the autumn it develops a deep purple sheen, which is quite unique to that type of tree and a real must see when guests are here.

As autumn begins to take over, the colours in the garden change from blues and yellows to striking reddish colours. One plant in particular, commonly known as Stag Horns turns a vibrant, rich red, it’s incredible.

What are your horticultural highlights in the local area?

The South West is so rich in wonderful horticulture. There are some great Gunneras in the local area, with some lovely examples in Queen Mary Gardens just across the road from the hotel. However, the best place to see them is at Trebah Gardens. They reach their highest point in autumn and you can actually walk in-between and underneath them.

Trebah is also the place to go to see the Lace Capone Hydrangeas, which are incredibly impressive. We also have some here in the hotel garden.

Trelissick Gardens is also beautiful in the autumn / winter months. It has a wonderful number of deciduous trees which bank onto the Fal River, making for an excellent autumn adventure.

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