Grow Your Own: July
One of the nicest parts of my job as Head Gardener of Chewton Glen is carrying out garden tours including special garden tours combined with lunch which we are again running this year, and they are really successful.
I find it really rewarding being able to tell people all about the eco-systems we are trying to create and showing people how we are running the grounds sustainably and responsibly. Of course, we show people the walled kitchen garden and explain how this works and how we grow crops for Luke Matthews, our Executive Head Chef, and the kitchens, and how we work together to produce quality crops that Luke incorporates into his menus. The sheer scale of what we are doing at the hotel is very difficult to comprehend until you are amongst it.
Often the things guests find most interesting is all the unseen projects we have going on in the gardens, including our bee hives, how the land is foraged daily to create jams and chutney, and how we have planted hedgerows and areas for this. The wildlife habitats we’ve established and where hedgehogs are being released is another nice project I like to show guests, as well as water recycling and, of course, all our bird boxes and feeders.
The highlight for most of the gardeners tends to be a look around our nursery garden where they can see how we produce so many plants and vegetables for the hotel. We show them the whole process from seed sowing to producing plants ready to plant out.
The tour ends with a fabulous lunch cooked by Luke and the chefs where they incorporate our produce into the menu to show guests how we are using it. What was especially nice this year was that I was with Adam the day before when he picked the courgette flowers for the starter.
The next Chewton Glen Estate Tour and Lunch will be 3 September 2014. Starting at 10.30am, the day includes a tour of the 130-acre estate and three-course private lunch hosted by Darren who will share some of his gardening tips and secrets.
The tour must be booked in advance: 01425 282212 or firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.chewtonglen.com/