Gardening at Winkworth is a privilege

Published : Tue 20th Jan

I joined the garden team at Winkworth Arboretum in October last year. I still find it amazing that one man visualised, and ultimately realised, the layout of the place and I love how he managed to enhance and add to the existing site without taking away from the natural beauty of the landscape.

What attracted me to the role most was the opportunity it afforded me to utilise both my horticultural experience and countryside management training, as Winkworth really does sit somewhere between a landscape garden and a wild woodland. I love that a space is made for nature alongside preserving the more formal areas of the place and its spectacular – and rare – collection of trees and shrubs from all over the world.

My favourite parts of the job so far have been getting to know the arboretum, the people, history, wildlife, and our great team of volunteers, all of whom have something special to share about their experience of Winkworth. A particularly special moment came in November last year when I and another gardener planted three memorial trees in the arboretum. It was so nice to feel that we were playing our part in the continued conservation of the place, as well as doing something that clearly meant a lot to the family at a place that was so special to their loved ones who had passed away. 

It's still early days for me at the moment, but I’m excited to get involved with future projects, not least the redevelopment of the garden at Oakhurst Cottage, a 16th century farm labourer's cottage in the nearby village of Hambledon, a village that’s now in the care of the Trust.

I think the National Trust represents a real badge of quality, it's such a respected institution in this country and so all-encompassing – when you work for the Trust you feel as if you’ve joined a huge family, with people from all walks of life and with all kinds of skills and knowledge. There's also this passion that runs through everything which is really inspiring. Working somewhere like Winkworth really is a privilege and the thought of getting out there in the arboretum and seeing how it changes every day makes getting out of bed in the morning a lot easier!

I’ve always had a passion for the places I have worked and Winkworth will be no exception. I think that is crucial to working for the National Trust – knowing and loving a place to the point that it flows through your veins and then enthusing about it to anyone willing to listen!

Thank you to Matthew, Gardener at Winkworth Arboretum.

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