The Friends of Holland Park is a community group and registered charity dedicated to preserving and enhancing the natural and historic assets of Holland Park. The Friends work closely with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s and Quadron idverde’s parks management team in order to have an input into how the park is managed and maintained.
We were therefore delighted to read the following article in the Summer 2016 edition of the Friends of Holland Park’s newsletter praising the work of our new Head Gardener in Holland Park, Rob May. The text of the article is reproduced below, with thanks to Jennie Kettlewell from the Friends of Holland Park.
Head Gardener Makes a Difference
Many members have reported that they have noticed improvements to planted areas of the park. No surprise then that this is to the credit of Rob May, Holland Parks new head gardener, who joined Quadron’s park team last year.
Those of us who keep a horticultural ear to the ground had heard that there was an excellent head gardener at Peckham Rye Park, and were delighted when we found out via Peckham contacts that he, Rob, was to come to Holland Park. It was initially the nursery role that attracted him, but he found himself developing a real passion for Holland Park, which meant he wanted the head gardener role when it became available. He could see an opportunity to improve horticultural standards. The difference is already noticeable.
I asked him what attracted him about Holland Park and he said: “The diversity. It has history, woodland areas and formal gardens. It is really different to other parks.”
He values his team, and one of his first acts was to promote Mark Sinclair to deputy head gardener, which is well deserved after the stunning work Mark has done in the Kyoto Garden over many years. Responsibility for the care of the Kyoto Garden now lies with Daijiro Mizuno, who brings us his invaluable expertise in Japanese gardening.
Rob has made it a priority to boost training in gardening techniques, and the team talk enthusiastically about the ideas Rob has and how he enables them to contribute to the wonderful park we all enjoy. Notice what they have done to improve the Acer Walk, the terrace above the Suntrap Garden, pruning vines around the rose garden, and watch out for other gems. He is working on plans for more semi-permanent planting that looks beautiful but requires less labour time than annual planting.
When you meet Rob it is obvious he is a New Zealander, not least because he gets so excited about NZ plants he finds in the park. He worked for the NZ Department of Conservation on grassland surveys and on threatened and endangered plant species. In 2000 he ventured a trip to the UK, without intending to stay, but felt he had not really had a chance to see the place, so never went back.
We look forward to working with Rob and his team to realise some interesting ideas.
For further information on the Friends of Holland Park, please visit their website: www.thefriendsofhollandpark.org