Sophie Lewis from FPM in Skills Exchange at The Newt


Sophie Lewis, horticulturalist at Frank P Matthews, has spent a week working with the gardeners at The Newt in Somerset as part of a useful skills exchange. The focus was on pruning fruit trees and the various forms and techniques used in maintaining the hundreds of trees in the parabola walled garden. Frank P Matthews supplied many of the trees in 2017 when the gardens opened and they are pruned several times a year to create intricate forms such as goblets, spheres, double cordons and a helix. French garden architect Patrice Travelle designed the gardens for Karen Roos who took over the estate in 2013.

Sophie with the gardeners Will Wade and Henry Thrugood at The Newt

Andrew Lewis, specialist fruit grower from The Newt said: “It was a pleasure to have Sophie working alongside us in the gardens, an excellent opportunity for a genuine skill swap, we all got lots from the experience. Sophie was a true ambassador for Frank P Mathews, forthcoming in sharing knowledge and eager to learn new skills.”

Whilst at The Newt, Sophie also co-hosted a workshop giving nursery advice to participants and adding extra knowledge to the event.

“It was a great experience and one I will not forget,” said Sophie. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Newt particularly getting the opportunity to discuss with the gardeners their techniques and practises and challenges they face, maintaining this garden to the highest standard.”

For more information about The Newt gardens, click here.

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