Sculpture by the Lakes bolsters gardening team with two new horticultural talents

Bob Burstow from the Eden Project is the park’s new Senior Horticulturist, supported by Alex Peel, currently an apprentice at Kingston Maurward College.

Alex Peel (left) & Bob Burstow

Nestled in 26 acres of gardens and lakes, Sculpture by the Lakes was created by renowned sculptor Simon Gudgeon in which to display numerous works of art without the constraints of a traditional gallery setting.

Heading up the Sculpture by the lakes gardening team, Bob Burstow, who was trained by the Professional Gardeners’ Guild, brings his experience from working at the Eden Project and the National Botanic Garden of Wales. He will be working closely with Garden Director and co-founder of the sculpture park, Monique Gudgeon.

Commenting on his new position, Burstow said: “Horticulture is such a misunderstood trade, either seen as a nice-to-have hobby or manual labour. The reality is that it is so much more important than either of those viewpoints because we have a duty to tend to beautiful locations like Sculpture by the Lakes in terms of the flora, and fauna by default. We are the caretakers of this landscape, and it is our responsibility to ensure that the site thrives while protecting it for years to come. Having worked in other settings where there is so much focus on the Botanic Garden and the associated conservation efforts, it really felt like such a natural move.”

Burstow applied for the role following the news of the park’s Botanic Garden accreditation in 2023 by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). the BGCI recognises gardens which conform to the standards and make significant contributions to plant conservation. Sculpture by the Lakes joins just nine other gardens across the country which hold the accreditation, including The Eden Project and the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Also joining the team is Kingston Maurward apprentice Alex Peel, who takes on the role of Under Gardener. Peel, formerly a Thomas Hardye School student, is set to qualify in his studies in RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture in May.

Peel said: “There is such a variety of work at Sculpture by the Lakes and no day is ever the same. The site has an abundance of different species; the forsythia especially looks to be something really special. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the garden reveals as the seasons change. To have this opportunity so close to home really is a privilege.”