Matthew Hart has been a gardener at Pinewood for two and a half years and has overseen a remarkable transformation of the Hotel gardens. The former freelance landscaper developed his love of horticulture in his parents large garden but then took a different path studying applied metalwork at college, however a module on design for outside spaces turned his head and he’s been keen on gardens every since!
Matt says,’ When I arrived at the Pinewood some large areas of the gardens had become overgrown and very crowded, I saw potential for new areas with new features to enhance the existing garden layout. Each year I have tried to add new plants and features to slowly bring the garden up to a high standard.’ Matt has visited many different gardens for research for the perfect plants to complement his vision, he says ‘some of my favourites are Bodnant Gardens in North Wales and the more contemporary Eden project in Cornwall is also amazing.’ – (Don’t think we’ve got quite the space they have though Matt!).
Clearing the bottom of the garden and levelling the old compost heap has been the most time consuming part of the project so far as all the top soil had to be sifted before sowing the new grass. But by far the most challenging has been
moving many tons of compost and decorative stone around alongside the everlasting battle with perennial weeds and of course falling leaves! Following on from his extensive research Matt has spent many hours planning and choosing the right new plants to fit the spaces and then finding the correct suppliers to deliver the goods, though I don’t think he’s minded that so much! He has even found time to make his own plant pots and his own rustic steps down at the bottom of the garden with stones he found on-site, a part of the garden he particularly likes. Matt comments. ‘Having such creative control over such a large space, coupled with the Hotel’s investment and GM John Scott’s enthusiasm and support has been brilliant,’
So given the progress so far, what’s next? ‘Moving forward’, says Matt ‘I’m looking for the garden to mature with an addition of a few new plants to fill any gaps. It’s looking like next year could be the best yet!.’