6th June 2017 – July 2017 heralds the launch of The Raymond Blanc Gardening School at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – the first of its kind in the UK. Inspired by a deep joy and curiosity for the wonders of nature, this school promises to combine the passion of the whole team at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and share their love for gardening, with the desire to pass on best-kept secrets to guests.
Blanc has always said that the gardens at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons are as much a part of the excellence as the two Michelin-starred food and the launch of the school is the perfect opportunity to enjoy learning more about the mystery of horticulture within a truly convivial environment. Quite simply, it is a perfect marriage of true minds – where nature and culture co-exist.
Expert knowledge and passion
Guests who visit Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons almost always head to the kitchen garden, a magnificent two-acre vegetable and herb scape producing over 90 types of vegetables and 70 herbs and this is where the inspiration to create the first ever hotel gardening school originated. Head gardener Anne Marie Owens, who has worked at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for over 30 years, shares the same passions as Blanc, and together they have combined heritage and modernity when it comes to growing methods with the passion for spreading that knowledge. Utilising tried and tested and more recent techniques, the team will also offer tips on the whole process – from planting and growing to picking and cooking.
Unforgettable ‘natural scapes’
The Raymond Blanc Gardening School will impart insider tips and expert advice in a relaxed and creative environment, appealing to those with a keen interest in all things botanical, or seasoned professionals.
Guests will be encouraged to discuss gardening experiences with green-fingered experts and take home ideas and inspiration guaranteed to transform natural spaces or feel energised to create a personal garden scape.
The core courses will be led by Anne Marie and her team, each of whom has a specialist interest. Initial courses will include Seasonal Vegetable Growing, Micro Greens, Orchard – Summer Pruning, Mushroom Growing, Understanding Your Soil and Growing Organic.
There will also be courses run by specialist growers and experts who have consulted with Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons over the years. Courses aim to cover subjects such as herbs for their medicinal properties, fruit tree pruning and gardening for children – to prepare for the next generation of gardeners.
Guests joining the courses will be based in the Hartley Botanic Glasshouse in the Heritage Garden. One day courses will run from 9.00am to 3.30pm with refreshments throughout and a working lunch. There will also be half day courses available.
There will be up to three-day courses each week throughout July until October, with additional courses built into the winter calendar. A one day course will cost from £185.00 per person and this includes tuition, morning tea on arrival and a working lunch.