Many people work to make the Hundred House a unique place to be. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be spending time getting to know them. I hope you’ll enjoy reading what I discover about the people who make this such a special place to eat, and relax.
Dappled light highlights the blue and yellow planting scheme.
The gardens at the Hundred House are special. Thirty years of love and caring design have made a tranquil, beautiful environment. This same skilled design allows for productivity, which means we get to enjoy some of the freshest herbs and vegetables possible. It’s such a special space, you might imagine that their wonder is wrought through nothing but magic and dreaming.This is not so. A team of people work to sow, grow, snip and dig, with the goal of keeping our herb stocks full, and our gardens brimming with beauty.
To learn more about it all, I grabbed a coffee with our gardener Libby, to find out how she came to be part of the Hundred House, and what she loves about her role in the garden.
Persuading Libby to have her photograph taken was a challenge! She agreed, but only if I allowed the Lilies to take centre stage.
HH How did you start working for the Hundred House?
Gardener Libby I started thirty-one years ago. I was employed to help Sylvia, and did everything, from cleaning, to sanding down the tables for the bar. I remember my very first job was having to get all the salt rings from the woodwork on the bar tables!
HH Nowadays, you spend most of your time in the gardens. What sparked this interest?
Gardener Libby I love nature. I love all the things I see. I saw a black toad this morning! It is a special place, and I love to remember Sylvia whilst I’m working in the garden. My favourite place is the Herb Memorial Garden. At the right time of day, there is a certain slant of light through the trees, which I love.
HH Do you prefer to be in the background?
Gardener Libby Very much! I love doing the early morning clean, organising the housekeeping team, tending the garden and feeding Donk the donkey and Henry’s dogs.
HH How much has it changed ?
Gardener Libby I remember the Hundred House before the Phillips family came. It was like a working men’s club; cigarettes, beer, darts and dominoes. On Friday afternoons they used to set up a doctor’s surgery for the locals!
HH What is your favourite thing about the Hundred House ?
Gardener Libby My favourite thing is the picture that Sylvia made. It hangs in the bar, and is beautiful.
Sylvia’s picture will soon be joined by work from other local artists, for you to enjoy on your next visit.
It’s fair to say the Hundred House has changed a lot since those days. The loveliest thing about talking to Libby is the obvious love she has for her job, the Phillips family, and the magical gardens. I’m looking forward to getting regular updates from her about the day to day changes, and seeing what she thinks about our new eating space The Garden Room.
I’ll leave the last words to Libby, in the form of a poem she wrote for the time capsule we created when we restored the barn.
A poem to make you smile by Gardener Libby
I am a little Ray of sunshine
Getting all the weeds
Keeping people happy
Tending to their needs
I love the early mornings
When I have to clean
Listening to the songbirds
Whilst doing the latrines
Winters very different
Oh that dam alarm
Dark and creepy, eerie noises
Power don’t go off
Log fires burning
Empty ashes, careful their still hot!
I polish, sweep, hoover, dust
I love to scrub the yard,
First impressions are a must so scrub Libby very hard!
Into the Donkey stable I go
Sunshine, freezing, hail or snow
Toast for breakfast, hay and straw
Where’s the nuts? Just a little more
Take out the muck, sweep them clean
And spray for fleas, they’re real mean
Pick the herbs, fresh and quick
Before they drop and look real sick
Rosemary’s good, not into the wood, bay lasts long time
Some fever few flowers Anise, Mint and Thyme,
Stand back and look, yes, they are fine
Check on the girls, beavering about no time to chat just give them a shout.
Check they’re ok, no moans or groans or worries
Now, hoover the office, empty the bin, mind the computer! That’s plugged in
Pick the beans, tomatoes, cucumbers
Feed the birds whilst summer slumbers
Fleece up all the tender flowers from cold, stormy winter showers
Blue cloths, oven cloths all mixed up
Sort them all out, yuk!
Over to Yew Tree to get them washed, then into the dryer, it never stops!
Just a few of my daily tasks, to keep me employed is all I ask.
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