A Gardener’s Paradise

Here at Hand Picked Hotels, we are incredibly proud of our talented and passionate team. Each member of our ‘family’ works tirelessly to deliver a unique and memorable experience for every guest. Matt Trimmer, Head Gardener at Fermain Valley Hotel, is a shining example of this dedication – and we can’t think of a man with a better name for the job!

This August, he celebrates his tenth year of tending to the gorgeous gardens of this much-loved Guernsey hotel. We asked him to reflect on how the gardens have developed over the years while offering a few tips to give you a helping hand with your garden at home.

Fermain Valley’s gardens are arguably striking: tall trees and shrubs frame a picture-perfect view of the sea, interspersed with lush lawns and bright, cheerful flowers. Beyond this first impression, Matt is eager to point out the clever and original design of the gardens and how they flow elegantly downhill to give a tranquil, relaxing feeling. “There is an incredible amount of work that is put in to achieve this,” he says. “The coastal aspect of where we are is important and the clever design incorporates a natural and drought-tolerant planting scheme.”

“The coastal aspect of where we are is important and the clever design incorporates a natural and drought-tolerant planting scheme.”

The lower gardens were not formally landscaped and the previously steep grass banks are now densely planted terraces with seated areas for relaxing. “I love to describe our gardens as naturally wild with a tropical feel,” says Matt. “At times, it feels like you are in the middle of a jungle, while there are also spaces that are wide, light and airy.”

Not only is Matt responsible for keeping nearly an acre of land perfectly presented, but he also tends to a kitchen garden, which provides fresh produce for the hotel’s three restaurants. “I love the days when I can pick the produce and drop it off in a basket to the chefs knowing they are using super fresh and organic ingredients for their dishes,” says Matt. “We can also propagate herbs and salads in our greenhouse to grow in the kitchen garden through the seasons – it certainly cuts down on the food miles!”

Matt believes strongly in making the gardens as organic as possible to safeguard the environment and cut down on costs. Still, it’s clear that his greatest passion is encouraging others to enjoy their own patch of the great outdoors. “I always tell people just to enjoy their garden and don’t be afraid to try new things,” he concludes. “Gardening is like painting: you have a blank canvas to fill with whatever you wish, so just get stuck in and enjoy!”

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