New head gardener for The Swiss Garden

Ben Jones has joined The Swiss Garden at The Shuttleworth Collection, near Biggleswade in Bedfordshire as head gardener.

Swiss Garden head gardener Ben Jones. Image: Supplied
Swiss Garden head gardener Ben Jones. Image: Supplied

Jones' post has been newly created as part of the next phase of the ongoing restoration and development of the garden, which will focus on bringing out more of the Regency features of the garden with an emphasis on using period plants and planting style.

The Swiss Garden is the most complete surviving example of a Regency garden in Britain. It was created by Lord Robert Henley Ongley in the early 19th century and added to by Victorian industrialist Joseph Shuttleworth after he bought the estate in 1872.

Previously overgrown and hidden behind the hangars of the Shuttleworth vintage aircraft collection, the garden reopened in summer 2014 following a £3.6m restoration project. Restoration focused primarily on the specialist conservation of the garden's thirteen quirky listed buildings and structures. 

Jones studied at RHS Wisley before becoming manager of a Mediterranean garden at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in Sicily, where he looked after citrus and an endangered fruit orchard along with the vegetable, herb and ornamental gardens.

He will head up the existing team including a group of local volunteers who work on the garden.

"Horticulture has always been my passion, from my first Saturday morning gardening job to managing a Mediterranean garden, and I am really excited about joining The Swiss Garden at such a key time in its transformation," he said.

"Beginning to return the historically correct planting is obviously the number one priority for me but I am also looking forward to meeting visitors to the garden and telling them about the work we are doing."



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