Meet Mottisfont's Head Gardener

The Rose Garden at Mottisfont Abbey © Stephen Robson

The Rose Garden at Mottisfont Abbey

David Stone
Head Gardener

David Stone has been Head Gardener at Mottisfont since 1978, and his main area of responsibility is the rose collection. He learnt about horticulture through 10 years’ hands on experience in an 80 acre garden owned by the National Coal Board.

David cares for Mottisfont’s 34 acres with the assistance of two other full-time gardeners, three part-timers (two of them temporary) and six regular volunteers.

Why did you choose gardening as a career?
It seems to be in the blood. I drifted in through the back door when I was 18 by working with my elder brother, who was a head gardener with the National Coal Board.

Describe Mottisfont garden in one sentence.
A gravel path winds between colourful borders planted with roses, nepeta (cat mint), peonies, foxgloves, irises and philadelphus (mock orange) at Mottisfont Abbey.

Which area do you like working in best?
It was the roses that drew me to Mottisfont, and it is the roses that keep me here. I was privileged to work with the National Trust’s Gardens Adviser and rose expert Graham Stuart Thomas for many years and I want to continue his work here as long as I can.

Name a historical gardener you’d like to meet.
Having shaken Graham Stuart Thomas’ hand, I’m a handshake away from Gertrude Jekyll, and I’d love to be able to talk to her about her gardening philosophy.