We are excited to introduce you to Robin Andrews, Head Gardener at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel and Restaurant

'My first introduction to gardening was amongst very humble beginnings. I grew up on a smallholding farm and I remember the livestock, especially the chickens and the cows. My Grandad had an orchard with fruit trees of a strange variety - he would graft two different types of fruit trees together as one tree, for example, a pear and an apple on one tree or two different apples on one tree. My grandmother's allotment boasted giant cabbages, gooseberries, redcurrants and a bramble that was thornless and trained to the wall, and in autumn it produced large blackberries. This bramble has survived the decades and a direct cutting from the original now thrives in my garden. The vegetable patch was stony and the carrots were very wonky when dug up - I had a plastic bucket and spade set, and my grandmother would give me twopence for every bucket of stones collected from the veg patch.'

'After secondary school I worked in the antique trade in restoration, delivering and collecting, and most importantly, I trained in the art of showroom setting which is a transferable skill I use in garden design. In 1996, I started my Horticultural and Arboricultural qualifications, which gave me a career with the National Trust until 2018. I first worked at Stourhead and was heavily involved in the management of the tree and shrub collections, giving guided tours on these collections and the gardens' history, plus gaining further qualifications in Garden Design and the eighteenth-century enlightenment. I became Assistant Head Gardener at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, where I gained knowledge in winter gardens, snowdrop collections, formal hedge cutting and middle management experience.'

'Missing the West Country, a further career move landed me the position of Head Gardener at Dunster Castle. This was a garden that had become a little lacklustre and certain historical views had been lost. My 11 years there enabled me to learn about and implement a garden conservation and management plan, which included a lot of historical research and proved to be very successful in bringing the garden back to a presentable standard.'

'I started as the Head Gardener at Summer Lodge in October 2020 and I am very excited to be here. The garden is brilliant and has some beautiful design features which will not be changed but embellished upon. The kitchen garden produces fruit and vegetables which supply the kitchen and in time, this area will return to a more traditional kitchen garden, with old varieties of the old country house estates. The herbaceous areas will be enhanced with more cooler colour planting to encourage relaxation and tranquillity for our guests, and the hotter colours will be moved away from these areas and replanted in others. The pond walk area is beautiful, with a stream and small cascades, and I would love to extend the top section of this area to include a subtropical area with the cascade system extended here.'

'The nursery garden has great potential and with a redevelopment scheme we can maximise space and grow more plants for the gardens, and also open this area up for our guests. Summer Lodge is also privileged to offer a few individual gardens attached to our bedrooms. Four of these gardens will have a subtropical, Mediterranean or cottage garden theme in time. The team here have been very welcoming and I look forward to many happy years working at Summer Lodge for The Red Carnation Hotel Collection.'