I am on “gardening leave”. For all sorts of reasons, both professional and private, for the past few weeks, I have been taking some time out and have been enjoying a little “gardening leave”. I have still been at the hotel, just not as many hours per day as sometimes is the case and it has been a welcome break and a change of scene has helped to see all that is TerraVina with a fresh pair of eyes and new perspective.
Guests have been writing rave reviews, noting lovely comments in the guest comment book and e mailing me with so many kind and appreciative thank you notes following their stay, all of which are a credit to Suzi, Chris, Lydia, Laura, George and the rest of the “A” team in my partial absence. They are all brilliant and it is so fantastic when the guests all agree with Gerard and I that we are so fortunate to have them all on our side.
But I digress… back to the gardening leave. I love gardening. However, I must confess that Matthew, my fantastic gardener at home and my mum actually do the lions share of the hard graft- ok all of the hard work and I merely plan, supervise the heavy bits and then get to do all the nicer bits such as grouping the plants, pots and ornaments and furniture together. It’s the same at the hotel, Paul, the hotel gardener and sometimes Matthew too do all the bits I don’t like- I hate grass, (we have astro turf at home), so I won’t cut the lawns, but I’m a great supervisor and teller of plans and jobs I have in mind for them! As for Gerard, I don’t think he’s noticed we even have a garden, so no hope of him helping with the plants.
My favourite plants are lavenders, hence the reason the toiletries at TerraVina are lavender based, the oils we use to fragrance the hotel are lavender (and mint- another favourite) and there is lavender in every part of the hotel’s gardens. It is a personal mission to try to have as many types of lavender in my garden at home as possible and so I source lavenders from all sorts of climes and places and then wallow in the beauty of their scents. This week, I have been gardening at home… over the next few weeks I will be tackling the hotels verandahs, terraces and grounds, planting, you’ve guessed it lavenders, all of which have just started to arrive in their seemingly 100’s but despite it looking like I am opening a garden centre to home only lavenders (now there’s a thought), in reality they won’t actually go very far at all, as what looks like plants a plenty when all grouped together, once they start to be planted actually seem to get “swallowed up” and go nowhere at all!
I am currently juggling gardening gloves and soil for glamour and working dinner shifts at the hotel- I have been begrudgingly laying down my garden fork and hose and like Superman (in the telephone box, when he loosens his tie and does a quick change), I emerge 2 minutes later looking rather more presentable in heels and suitable attire to meet, greet and look after hotel guests.
New beds of Rhododendrons are planned too (they love the ericaceous soil of the New Forest)- excuse my spelling (!) and all the pots are being spruced up and livened up ready for the sunshine and the summer which leads me onto an important newsflash… the pool is open, and whilst outdoor, it is heated to a lovely warm and balmy 34 degrees… susshhhhh, don’t tell Gerard- at least it was heated until the boiler stopped over the Bank Holiday weekend so we are urging the plumber to hurry to see us very soon and get us up and running again. I’m not thinking of the bill for heating it, (or the cost of a new boiler if it cannot be repaired and hopefully GB won’t either!) We have new, smart sun beds to lounge on this year so do come and visit soon and give them a try out and let me now if they are comfy… we have our usual great value mid week break offers running through May and into June so an ideal time to dip a toe in the water, come smell the roses and the lavender and have a chilled out day or two a TerraVina.
Till next week