Meet the team: Michael
Michael is responsible for our beautiful gardens and grounds and has worked at Callow Hall for an incredible 38 years! He lives in nearby Uttoxeter which sits on the River Dove. When not at Wildhive, Michael is busy nurturing his collection of over 600 hostas in his garden.
A typical day
The morning starts with checks of all the plants in the hotel and restaurant, watering and tidying, cleaning around the restaurant terrace. I then make my way down the lavender path to the potting shed, gather tools for the jobs in hand - weeding, tending the vegetable garden etc. Leaf blowing is a daily task in the autumn and winter months including Hives, Treehouses and pathways in the woods. During my working day I often speak to guests that come into the garden, discussing plants and tips etc. I also help my colleague with any major maintenance jobs, there’s always something different to do - even mole catching!
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
Working in the garden, watching things grow, taking in the scenery and all the amazing wildlife.
What is most important to you in terms of working for Wildhive?
Working with a friendly team, supporting each other and getting things done.
What do you enjoy about working as part of the Wildhive team?
Working with my friend and colleague, learning new things about maintenance and teaching him about gardening!
What are the best parts of Wildhive Callow Hall?
Definitely the garden views, the diverse local wildlife, the surrounding countryside and the special experience of Wildhive.
In terms of gardening, what are you most proud of so far?
My Hosta border - it has come together really well and does look beautiful when in bloom.
What do you have coming up over the next 12 months - what are the main projects and challenges?
There’s lots coming up - new pathways, fences, borders, growing edible flowers and a challenge to grow pumpkins!
What is your vision for the gardens and grounds at Wildhive?
To help save money working on projects and improving the structure of Wildhive - without using contractors.
Which is your favourite flower or plant and why?
My favourite plant is the Plantain Lily (common name Hosta). There are so many colour combinations and different leaf structures. I myself have a collection of over 600 different varieties in my garden at home! Another favourite is a recent planting - Liquidambar Slender Silhouette, a slim-growing tree which has varied colour changes throughout the season.
Can you share with us a useful gardening tip/secret?
A bio-friendly control of slugs, mainly on hostas. Garlic wash spray on leaves once a week and use a higher concentrate more often in wet weather.
GARLIC WASH RECIPE
- 2 full bulbs of garlic added to 2 litres of water in a saucepan.
- Boil until soft, squash the garlic with back of a fork to release as much juice as possible.
- Sieve out the skins and bits to get a cloudy liquid concentrate.
- Dilute 2 tablespoons of concentrate to 5 litres of water in a sprayer or watering can from February to October.
- Open a window or do this outside as it will get very garlicky!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I constantly get my inspiration from various sources but mostly from a retired and very experienced gardening friend and great gardening books.