Many thousands of visitors come each year to admire the amazing, beautiful and wonderfully well maintained gardens at Levens Hall. They must be kept at their very best and it takes a dedicated and hardworking team of gardeners to do it.
Chris Crowder has been the head gardener here for over twenty five years. Trained at Kew, he is only the tenth to take on the role since the gardens began in the 1690s. He leads a small, highly skilled group of five mainly parttime workers- young and old, male and female. They are ably assisted in season by a great group of willing volunteers and a steady stream of international interns eager to learn the Levens way.
Hedge clipping and topiary trimming are obviously major tasks. This work is started in late August and usually not completed until well after Christmas. Lightweight aluminium scaffold towers and a mobile hydraulic lift are used to reach the higher pieces. Most of the clipping is now done using battery or petrol hedge trimmers, but some pieces are still done by hand.
Each bed in the parterre is dug and manured in the Autumn, and the spectacular bedding display is changed twice a year, calling for the on-site production of over 30,000 plants. Although this is not a large garden, the many wonderful herbaceous and mixed borders, interesting shrubs and climbers, fine lawn areas and pathways together make it truly labour intensive.
Time too is spent each year on further restoration and development, to maintain the garden's position as one of the finest and most important in Britain.
If you would like to join the gardens team as a volunteer, for a working holiday, or as part of the international internship programme, you would be very welcome. Please just get in touch...