Horticulturalist Melvyn Prentice talks looking ahead to your garden for 2015


Melvyn Prentice is an experience horticulturalist, with 37 years experience in the industry. He currently works at Daws Hall Nature Reserve, Lamarsh on the Essex/Suffolk border, where he has been for more than 20 years. The garden of Daws Hall has a large collection of beautiful old-fashioned roses and some unusual trees and shrubs. There is also a study centre. It is a truly wonderful place for school children of all ages to learn about the natural environment. It’s open several times a year to the public and garden groups plus WI groups by appointment only.


Melvyn also works at two other large rural gardens in Pebmarsh and in the past has spent a good many years at the Braxted Park estate in Essex as Head Gardener in charge of gardens and grounds maintenance.


What are some of the challenges that clients can face with larger properties?                                   

The main challenges for clients of large gardens and estates are finding competent and reliable contractors or staff. The other main expense is ongoing maintenance of the gardens. It’s all well and good to have your garden redesigned but the maintenance costs are often overlooked and should always be considered in the client’s budget.


What are the benefits of using a horticulturalist/gardener for large gardens and estates?

Using qualified and experienced gardeners means that the client should be able to be reassured that his or her garden will be looked after correctly. I would recommend always choosing your gardener through word of mouth – their work is their best advert.


January is the time lots of people start thinking about planning their gardens. What things are there to consider and what are the benefits of discussing these and planning with a horticulturalist?

January is a good time to look forward and make plans for your gardens. Always take into account how much you can afford to redesign or replant and look at what your budget you have for annual maintenance costs, too. Having an experienced horticulturalist with you throughout the planning and planting stage could actually save you money by using suitable plants for the right situation.


What trends do you predict for gardens in 2015?

In recent years the trend for using the garden for entertaining friends and family has risen dramatically. Barbecues, furniture and lighting sales are definitely up. With careful thought and consideration, lighting it can give your garden another dimension. Plant fashions come and go but conifers and evergreens have certainly made a comeback, giving structure, form and shelter to many gardens.



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To speak to Melvyn for advice or to make an appointment, you can call him on 07860 127325 or email melvyn.prentice@btinternet.com