Tell us a bit about Larmer Tree Gardens and its history.

Created in 1880 by General Pitt-Rivers, the gardens optimised Victorian Extravagance. Pleasure grounds for the recreation of the people in neighbouring towns and villages. It was the first privately owned garden to be open to the public and remains so, recognised by English Heritage as a garden of National Importance.

Aswell as being open to the public the gardens are an award-winning wedding and private event hire venue.

Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire

Tell us a little bit about your role as Head Gardener at Larmer Tree.

I’m responsible for managing the entire eleven acres of garden here, soon as you enter from the roadside and make your way down the Beech lined drive to the formality of the main garden. I oversee maintenance all year round to ensure its looking its absolute best whilst designing and working on various projects throughout the garden to pherhaps bring an area back to life or the implementation of a completey new project.   It’s a varied and exciting role but also demanding, particularly during peak season when we have so many events to cater for whilst working around the ever-changing climate and the challenges that brings.

Tell us what people can expect when they visit Larmer Tree, and what makes it stand out from other Gardens in the area.

Quirkiness! Only at the Larmer Tree will you find a Victorian Garden with a Roman Temple, thatched arbour and an Indian Building. This however isn’t just a mismatch of items and more of an acknowledgement to the General and his strongly pursued interests and fascination in public education.   The garden itself centres around a main lawn, with radiating laurel walks and hidden gardens beyond these, historically hired out for individual parties. There is a sunken garden and pond and numerous ancient trees dotted throughout the landscape.  Be sure to look up as you wander around to really appreciate these magnificent specimens!

What do you like best about working at Larmer Tree?

We have some images that date back to the 1800s which show the gardens full of people! It’s a pleasure to continue to be part of the team that preserves the long history, while ensuring that we continue to evolve the garden for present day visitors whilst retaining all the vision that the General had when he first created them.

Where are your favourite places to visit in Wiltshire and why?

Kennet and Avon Canal walk, Bradford on Avon

I love to visit Braford on Avon and stroll along the canal there. The Canal immediately evokes a sense of calm and steady pace, much needed in an ever-busy life!

Shearwater Lake is a great place to walk and cycle and not far from the Wyle Valley and its villages.

Do you have any hidden Wiltshire gems that you’d like to share with our readers?

Well, the Larmer Tree for sure! Whether you are bringing a picnic or want to enjoy a coffee and cake, on a warm sunny day come and enjoy the serenity of the gardens and take in the magic as you wander around and explore. 

Another gem not far from us is Old Wardour Castle, now a ruin but still a magnificent sight full of history and well worth a visit.

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