Our last story is from Hazel who is a plant centre volunteer and garden tour guide;
I have always loved gardening. When I worked as an NHSmanger, it proved to be a great stress-buster. Upon my retirement, as a carer for my parents, I could let off steam by tending their lovely garden, full of Rhododendrons, just like Castle Drogo.
Last year, finding myself with time to spare, following their sad demise, I paid a visit to Castle Drogo. I was immediately drawn to the garden feeling there was something special here. I approached Laurence (volunteer co-ordinator), to ask if there was a vacancy for a volunteer in the plant centre, I was struck be the friendliness of everybody I met.
I started volunteering in April last year; initially my duties were to tend the plants in the plant centre. Laurence asked me if I would be willing to undertake conducting a garden tour to add to our visitor’s enjoyment. As I can talk for England, I was keen to give it a try!
Within 2 weeks, I had boned up on the history of the Castle and the Gardens and nervously conducted my first tour. I need not have worried, the people I took around the garden were lovely and their positive comments gave me confidence.
Now I work on a Monday, there is a team of 4 of us, Mary, Helen, Julie and myself. Collectively we are responsible for looking after the plant centre plants, weeding watering & merchandising, making the plants look as good as possible, so that hopefully, people are tempted to buy. In addition we conduct up to 2 garden tours a day. We tell people all about the gardens, giving a brief history of how it all came to be here.
I love my day each week at Castle Drogo, from the start I have felt well supported by both the staff and volunteers. I hope to continue in this role for many years to come.
If you’d like to get involved at Castle Drogo please contact our volunteer coordinator, Laurence Harvey on 01647 434114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org