With so many guests basking in our picturesque 1,000 acre grounds of Cheshire countryside, we caught up with Head Gardener Steve Latham to tell us all about his day to day routine and future flowering plans at Cheshire’s Country Estate.
“I honestly think being a gardener is the most interesting job anyone can have! You know in your own mind what you want to do and ever since I was a lad, all I’ve ever wanted to do is be outside. I’ve never been an inside person playing on computers and watching TV.”
Even though his job consists of early starts, Steve never shies away from his ever changing workload.
“My routine is certainly a busy one. My day starts at 6 in the summer and 7 in the winter. Straight from clocking in, I help Chris set up with the servicing and grinding of the machines in the workshop before they go out on the golf courses. I’m always doing bits and pieces. I really don’t mind helping people as I like to be kept busy. I then go litter picking around the hotel and the clubhouse before the seasonal changes in my role. In summer, I enjoy watering, hedge-cutting and mowing especially during April and September, whereas in winter, we prefer blowing leaves, pruning and generally tidying everywhere up”.
Steve has been here for 19 and a half years and in this time has been promoted, making him a prime example of the Grow Our Own ethos we have here at Carden Park for our team. Steve has accumulated a wealth of experience from his variety of different roles in and out of Carden Park.
“I was working as a Farmer before I came to Carden and started helping out in Estate Maintenance. In late 2012, I was promoted to my current role although since day one, I’ve always had something to do with the gardens and often overlooked them when the previous Head Gardener left. I’ve been here almost 20 years now and I’m enjoying it more than ever. You can’t fault the place and it’s gets better every day! It truly is a great place to work.”
Having been involved in the array of vibrant plant and garden life at the hotel, Steve still shows an abundance of enthusiasm and pride in the work that he does each day.
“If I’ve got something in my head, it’s got to be done. Gardening takes your mind off other things and it’s great to be doing a job that is healthy and outside in the open air. I treat them as I do my own gardens at home. Two winters ago, I planted the herb garden which has been a great success. Last year, we put 10,000 daffodils up by the Cheshire Course, 500 new white roses at the front of the hotel and six white jasmines in the courtyard. This year, we are putting 5,000 daffodils either side of the front path so come springtime, all you’ll be able to see from the terrace is yellow, yellow, yellow all down to the bank. Next year, we are planning to put 15,000 down by the 17th tee. It’s a job that never stops and I love it”.
The gardening team is a prime example of the strong ethics of #teamcarden and Steve singles out Estate Manager Peter Pattenden as somebody who has helped him progress in his career.
“Without Pete, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. He’s helped me progress and when i bring up ideas, he’ll help me achieve them. He’s a man who works with you and like me will help anybody out. Chris, our onsite mechanic has also been fantastic. He’s helped me train in fixing machines, which has added another string to my bow. I’m not scared to ask him anything. I live by the motto ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ “.
Going forward into the new year, Steve can’t wait for the big changes that 2018 will bring.
“A lot has happened this year. We’ve had the new terrace and the future is looking great too. We have some really exciting plans in place. We have some bedding plants going in, the fountain at the front will be redone in March and we will also be replanting shrubs in the courtyard and round the spa to the shooting lodge. As well as this, we’ll be putting all of our hanging baskets together at the beginning of May to go out a month later. Recently, 2,000 crocuses have been put in next to the bridge on the drive, so they’ll be sprouting up in late February”.
With positive changes happening not just in the gardens but in all areas of the hotel, where better to stay than at Carden Park?