Mr. Green Fingers!

Marygreen Manor is probably best known for its lavish accommodation and the most luxurious fine dining in Essex. A host to corporate events and personal celebrations throughout the year, not forgetting their constant everyday visitors, its original Tudor features and beautiful dining area within the Tudor Restaurant makes it second to none and a popular choice amongst Essex residents as well as visitors from across the country. But Marygreen has somewhat of a secret gem, something that not everyone knows about and its secret comes in the form of a garden. Hidden behind the great Manor House, the gardens are a secret treasure. It’s not until you walk through the hotel that you actually discover beautifully manicured lawns, scarified twice a year, and a variety of expertly placed plants and flowers. Clear to see immediately are the traces of finely trained green fingers that have been creating and caring for the gardens.

Garden 4

Although the gardens have been somewhat of a focal point for visitors to the Essex hot spot for many years now, it wasn’t until recently that they decided a shake-up was needed, and that some seriously keen and knowledgeable hands were required to tend to the roses, tulips and numerous other plants dotted around. These hands came in the form of 23 year old Matthew Bishop in January of this year. Tasked with turning the gardens around, taking them to the next level as it were, Matthew has certainly delivered.

Tending to the gardens two full days a week, Matthew has given everything “a bit of attention” as he describes it, and injected life back into the gardens. One of the main things he has to contend with are the constant demands for beautiful backdrops for the photos often required by the wedding parties held there, “With a wedding venue you don’t want to take the attention away from the bride in the photos, so there are a lot of shrubs and I have to think about plants and flowering throughout the year, it needs to look good all through the year, so there are a lot of things I’m looking to change, liking adding shrubs, perennials and herbaceous plants such as the euphorbia, these give interest all year round.”

One of Matthews’s missions as he describes it has been the heart themed flowering bed, “With this bed what I plan to do is plant a lot more tulips in the autumn, I want to introduce every season new summer and winter bedding. I want more geraniums too, lots of reds, whites and pinks. It keeps it within the theme of the heart. But this is definitely my mission at the minute. Well this and the hanging baskets, although I don’t have the space to grow the baskets myself, I’ve sourced companies that will do them.”

Garden 1

In spite of an outsider perhaps seeing huge differences to the garden, Matthew insists he has merely taken over from his predecessor and added the finishing touches to an otherwise well maintained area, “When I first started, one of my main things I wanted to do was simply crisp up the edges of the bedding plants, squaring off the hedges etc.”

In true Marygreen Manor style, a simple garden with picturesque scenery just isn’t enough; their gardens work for them too, now Matthew has provided a simple yet fabulous herb garden for the chefs to take full advantage of. Picking their own herbs to work with, only adding to their already fine dishes with home grown basil, mint and coriander. He’s even begun growing lavender for one of the chefs who want to add an exquisite Lavender Ice Cream to the menu. Eating Lavender Ice Cream sat amongst the rambling roses in the gardens of the Marygreen Manor Hotel, what a perfect picture. Although don’t take my word for it, take a look for yourself and if you’re lucky Matthew might even let you in on a few of his tips.

Garden 3

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