Caption: The Rose Garden, Lowther Castle
Caption: The recently erected rose pergola with fountain makes a bold statement
Caption: Four of the many thousands of roses looking spectacular in rain
Caption: Head Gardener, Martin Ogle (Right) with Dan Pearson (left) who worked closely together along with the team to make the new rose garden such a success.
We're lucky enough for Head Gardener, Martin Ogle to have taken time out from his busy schedule at Lowther Castle and Gardens to let us know a bit more about his gardening background and current challenges.
1. What’s your earliest gardening memory?
Helping my grandad care for his garden with duties such as pruning roses and mowing lawns.
2. Have you followed a formal route into horticulture via college?
Yes, I trained at Newton Rigg College for a diploma in horticulture and then progressed to a certificate in gardening.
3. When did you join Lowther and what was it like to start working on such a large garden?
I joined the project at Lowther in 2012 and became head gardener in 2013. It is a pleasure to be able to work on such a large project and work alongside a talented group of gardeners and garden designer.
4. What are the main challenges you face on a day-to-day basis?
Regular challenges can always be weather or ground conditions, we also have the challenges of working around visitors and ensuring a safe environment is maintained.
5. What are the best things about your job?
Being able to influence and manage such a large-scale project which will have influence on visitors and gardeners, now and in the future.
6. How long have you been using peat-free compost and what are the issues this poses?
We have been using peat-free composts for many years now, so have become accustomed to it. We do not encounter any issues using peat-free products.
7. Next year are there any exciting plans for the gardens?
We have many exciting plans for the gardens at Lowther. Over the next few years we will be concentrating on developing our western gardens, which will see a new layer of horticulture implemented for the rock garden, Japanese garden and sweet scented gardens.
8. If you hadn’t been a gardener, what would you be?
I am sure my path would have led to horticulture in some form.
9. What’s your favourite season?
Autumn. I enjoy late flowering perennials and how they offer individual moments through a retreating planting scheme. In the garden, autumn marks the transition from a busy summer and allows you to slow the pace and enjoy the changing colours in the trees and shrubs. Autumn is a time to plant bulbs, which is a favourite task of mine, and preparing for what’s to come in the next season.
10. What’s your favourite plant/plants and why?
I am very fond of trees and shrubs and their use in gardens and landscapes, one of my favourite shrubs is Amelanchier Candensis for its spring flower and also its autumnal colours.
If you fancy a trip to visit the rose garden, visit the Lowther Castle & Gardens website.
*Photo credit Tony Rumsey MBE