National Gardening Week: Meet our new Head of Gardens

Rosie Fyles joined as our new Head of Gardens in late April, just in time for National Gardening Week. We caught up with her to ask her a few questions about her new role. 

How did you get into gardening?

Gardening has been my hobby since I filled my parents’ windowsills with geranium cuttings, and I’ve grown vegetables since I’ve had a space to cultivate them. I turned my relaxation into my job over 12 years ago, having had a varied career in branding and communications. I’ve spent most of my professional career gardening with the National Trust, at Ham House Garden and Polesden Lacey. Most recently, I was Head Gardener at Ham House for six years, developing the garden and the teams there and over the time, planting over 600,000 bulbs (not on my own!) and 600 trees.

Give us a flavour of your work at Chiswick so far

I’m getting to know the space, the plants and the people and it’s that mix that I think is the key to looking after a historic, public garden. So far, I’ve spent at least an hour a day actually gardening which is important to me: I don’t want to be just at my desk or in meetings, I want to be working alongside our teams and having time in the space we are caring for. I’ve been reading up and learning the history, getting to know the oldest and possibly most vulnerable trees, and talking to people, learning from their working experience here. I’ve tried some rhubarb and asparagus too – also vital!

Which future project are you most looking forward to?

The most exciting thing about the future is gardening in different, more climate-aware ways in this historic, atmospheric garden. We will be uncovering beautiful aspects of the space that currently might be masked by undergrowth or need pruning into a true shape while aiming to improve how the garden works for everybody that comes to it. The historic ‘bones of the garden’, put in place over 200 years ago, are stunning and recognised as so by garden historians. I am excited about sharing the garden, making it come fully alive again for everybody today.

Welcome to Rosie and best of luck with your new role, we are thrilled to have you on our team.