'Enthusiast' who transformed Bishop of Norwich gardens takes reins at Somerleyton Estate
PUBLISHED: 14:55 13 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:04 13 April 2019
A gardener who transformed the Bishop of Norwich’s garden over a 25-year tenure is set to take the reins at Somerleyton Estate.
Lord and Lady Somerleyton have appointed Simon Gaches as their new head of gardens to lead their team of gardeners and volunteers across the estate.
He assumes the role having previously held the position of head gardener to the Bishop of Norwich, where his work helped raised more than £300,000 for charity and attracts more than 5,000 visitors every year.
But with the Bishop - The Rt Rev Graham James - announcing his retirement last year, Mr Gaches will cross the Norfolk-Suffolk border and oversee projects at Somerleyton from this spring.
Bishop Graham said: “Over the past 25 years Simon has overseen a series of major developments which have led to national recognition of this historic garden.
“He has been tireless in his work, imaginative in the introduction of changes and an enthusiast in communicating what he knows. He has transformed the garden here and will be greatly missed.
“Somerleyton is fortunate to have someone with such a proven track record who takes such delight in all he does. My wife Julie and I thank Simon for being such a wonderful colleague for so many years and wish him well.”
Somerleyton Hall is considered to have one of the finest gardens in East Anglia, featuring a Nesfield Parterre centrepiece, a world famous yew hedge maze and magnificent specimen tress.
Mr Gaches’ head of gardens role has been created to integrate Somerleyton Hall Gardens and Fritton Lake Resort, in a drive to make them more nature-friendly and enjoyable for those visiting and living on the estate.
“I thank Lord and Lady Somerleyton for giving me the opportunity to take the gardens at Somerleyton to another level,” said Mr Gaches.
“I look forward to introducing Hugh, Lara and the rest of the team to my passionate and enthusiastic approach to growing rare, unusual and exotic plants, and helping establish Somerleyton Hall as one of the best places to visit in East Anglia.”
Lady Somerleyton added: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Simon on board, having admired the results of his hard work from when we’ve visited the Bishop’s House Garden.
“I know he is already planning lots of projects for our gardens and I’m looking forward to learning lots from him.”
Somerleyton Hall and Gardens will open from Easter, starting with the annual egg hunt. Visit the estate website for opening dates and times.