Strange gardening jobs in the South West

Gardeners here in the South West have to perform some unusual tasks. Here's a behind-the-scenes peek into some of the strange jobs they do as part of caring for these amazing gardens.

The Orange Grove at Saltram

Citrus trees are more commonly associated with Spain than Devon but the gardeners at Saltram have an entire Orange Grove to tend to. The Grove is the trees’ historic outside home: they used to be placed outside on 22 May (oak apple day) and returned to the Orangery in mid-October. With today’s warmer climate the oranges and lemons are allowed outside for longer.

The Orange Grove at Saltram
The Orange Grove at Saltram

The medieval pond at Godolphin

Maintaining the inside of a pond doesn't tend to involve a strimmer, but that's exactly what's needed by the garden team at Godolphin. The medieval pond, which once held fish intended for the dining room has long stood empty, perhaps drained to make netting the fish easier.

Wibbly-wobbly hedges at Montacute

The wibbly-wobbly hedges at Montacuteare clipped are annually in August. The hedges were planted in Victorian times and they stood straight until 1947, when their fascinating shape was created. Heavy snow caused the hedges to collapse and they never bounced back.

Gardener clipping the wibbly wobbly hedges at Montacute House
Gardener clipping the wibbly wobbly hedges at Montacute House

The maze at Glendurgan

The maze at Glendurgan is formed from cherry laurel. The hedges are kept low to make maintenance easier and the maze less daunting.  It takes three gardeners a day to cut the hedges and another day to rake up the clippings and carry them out by hand, work which is usually carried out in June. The job's been made much easier recently as electric hedge cutters with backpack batteries have replaced the petrol cutters used previously. These are much quieter and make the job a lot easier, until you cut through the power cord of course.

Glendurgan maze
The wavy hedges of Glendurgan maze in Cornwall seen from above

The topiary teacup at Antony

Gardeners at Antony regularly trim a teacup. It's a piece of formal hedging from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland film.