This week, 14th to 21st April is National Gardening Week. Launched three years ago by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), this annual event has grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening.
2014 also sees the RHS celebrating the 50th anniversary of RHS Britain in Bloom, the UK’s largest volunteering project which encourages anyone from a complete novice to a green-fingered expert to get involved and breathe life back into green spaces, neighbourhoods and communities all over the UK.
One business that does not need any encouragement to get their gardens in bloom is Millgate, the multi award-winning Berkshire based luxury homes developer.
When Millgate complete on the purchase of a new development plot, the first aspect they start work on is the garden. Whilst one might expect developers to turn their attention to demolition and ground breaking to tee off any project, this is not Millgate’s style at all. Breaking with normal construction tradition Millgate turn their initial attention to the natural surrounds and how to maximise their appeal.
Matthew Brazier, Senior Sales Manager for Millgate, explains:
“Working on the landscaping at the early stage of a development pays enormous dividends later. As a priority we look at the established grounds of any development and then shape, tailor and update where necessary. This gives established plants the time they need to re-grow and shape as we want them prior to launch.
“Our award-winning garden contractor is Berkshire-based Treetop. We work with the experts to produce the landscape plans for planning submission with Treetop consulting closely with us at every stage, deciding together which existing mature trees, hedges and ornamental plants should be retained as well as where new flora will be introduced.
“The Millgate philosophy is simple; if someone is looking to buy a beautiful home then it must be set within a beautiful plot. Focusing on the landscaping from day one allows us the maximum amount of time for the foliage to flourish as desired resulting in stunning grounds well before the Show Home launch takes place. Aware that we will be working on the site for up to a year or sometimes longer, 25 years of construction experience has taught us some brilliant tricks of the trade, of which investing time in the garden early on is definitely one.”
Closer to launch Millgate introduce final planting to give the grounds that wow factor. This phase is common in the construction industry but Matthew Brazier explains what it is that sets Millgate apart:
“I have worked in the residential industry for 10 years and yet I have never seen the level of attention, detail and funds that go into a Millgate garden. For instance we had a recent project in Gerrards Cross building some town houses. The external garden costs came to almost £240,000. Needless to say the houses sold quickly!”
Sales and Marketing Director for Millgate, Jonathan Cranley, adds:
“At Millgate we work in hand in hand with Treetop who, like us, have a desire to stand out from the crowd. They understand what we want and they deliver exactly that; it makes our job so much easier when we have like-minded partnerships of this nature. Treetop have created numerous medal-winning gardens and attended at all the major RHS shows like Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park, so there is no denying they are at the top of their game.”
The latest project that Treetop assisted Millgate on was a luxury development Trevereux, just outside Oxted. Here the gardeners were challenged by the houses sitting on the edge of an escarpment, meaning steep slopes down to stunning infinity pools with views stretching dozens of miles out to the South Downs.
Fiona Bruce, an RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal winner from Treetop, comments:
“Everyone was in awe of the views at Chart Ridge, Trevereux, they are completely stupendous but it was very challenging to work on this project due to the original gradient. With some careful terracing and sculpting of the land, it is now much easier to get about on. For privacy we planted six metre high Thujas (evergreen conifers), which had to be guyed and staked in place because of the slopes – and that was during the wettest winter for years, which was certainly challenging! We also planted specially grown trailing evergreens into the retaining terrace walls so that they would be green very quickly.”
Fiona goes on to explain how Treetop select plants for each individual development:
Millgate garden “We generally focus on low maintenance plants, as everyone has such busy lives. We also try to ensure that nearly everything is evergreen, partly to help reduce maintenance (no leaves falling in autumn) and partly to provide year-round colour and interest. We import many large specimen trees and shrubs from European growers to create an ‘instant’ maturity to complement Millgate’s properties. It’s very important to make each garden as flexible as possible, since you don’t know whose garden it is going to be or for what purposes they will be using it. Very often we are asked by purchasers, after they have bought their new homes, to further develop their new gardens with them, which is a wonderful opportunity to take the landscaping to the next level.
For more information on Millgate and their wonderful gardens contact 0118 934 3344 or visit http://www.millgatehomes.co.uk. To talk to Fiona at Treetop contact 0118 934 4132.