Meet Peter

Garden volunteer, Blickling Estate

Peter Richardson - Garden volunteer

Having spent 27 years in Australia with a 43 acre farm, on his return to the UK, Peter decided to come back to his roots, and volunteer at one of his favourite places, Blickling Estate. Now a member of the garden team, Peter explains his passion for the estate.

A garden volunteer kneeling down in the walled garden

Why did you decide to volunteer for the National Trust?

I first came to Blickling when I was six years old and whenever I was back from Australia I would always come and visit. It was one of my mum's favourite places to take us, and when I returned from 27 years abroad, my sister suggested that I try volunteering here.

What sort of work are you doing for the Trust?

Initially I started in the stamp shop in January 2016, but on meeting one of the garden volunteers and finding out about opportunities in the garden team I changed roles.  Having had a 43 acre farm in Australia I liked the idea of being outdoors and using my skills.

I love talking to people from my work as a lecturer in economic history so I also started leading garden tours too.

Tell us more about your work…

I lead garden tours on Thursday afternoons (on weeks when the 'Norah Lindsay tour' isn't on), as well as alternate Saturdays.  I then spend the rest of Thursday between the garden and the walled garden, depending on what needs to be done.

The work varies from painting posts and heavy duty cleaning to weeding and planting.

" I love this place, I love history, I love gardening - it all fits together perfectly"
- Peter Richardson, Garden Volunteer

What are you enjoying the most?

I've loved learning so much about gardening (and the importance of weeding!), and re-discovering the seasons.  Coming from two seasons in Australia, it's been wonderful to see the four seasons changing here and the garden is the best place to see this happening.

I like leading the garden tours, particularly when there's a really interactive group to talk to. I love helping with the topiary, because it's such an important feature of the garden and all the visitors see it.

It's amazing to be part of the walled garden project development too, and know that we've helped to create what visitors come and admire.

What do you do in your free time?

I still work part-time and spend part of the week in London as a Financial Consultant.  I'm also Treasurer of the Norfolk County Music Festival, so I lead a pretty busy life!

What advice would you give to people considering volunteering?

Think carefully about where you want to go and what you want to do around the estate.  It's hard work in the garden, in all weathers and all seasons, so you've got to choose something that really interests you and go for it. 

Volunteers working in the walled garden
Two garden volunteers walking through the walled garden
Volunteers working in the walled garden
" The ambience of working in such an amazing place, with the house and garden is really something quite special."
- Peter Richardson, Garden Volunteer