Hi, my name is Craig Buckley and I am the new Project Gardener at Langley Park.
Having first visited Langley Park in January of 2010, I knew instantly it was a very special place. Being first met by the giant Wellingtonias, which are enough to impress anybody, I then took a stroll around the snow covered Temple Gardens. The rhododendrons made a real impact on me, especially with the solitaires' age and character. From the temple base, I loved the view down the Vista to Windsor Castle. It was really quite spectacular.
I am originally from Knutsford, Cheshire, and decided to make my way down south to be one of the Seasonal Rangers in Black Park for a change of scene, as being so close to London and all the filming that goes on in the country parks seemed really interesting and exciting. I didn't have any real plans of hanging around once I finished my Seasonal Ranger contract, but when I realised there was a chance of being the Project Gardener at Langley Park, I knew it was definitely an opportunity not worth passing up on.
Originally, my previous studies and work prepared me more for a career as a Ranger. I spent two years at college studying Environmental Conservation, before going to Aberystwyth University for three years to do a degree in Countryside Management. During the summer holidays and after University I worked at Tatton Park, in Cheshire, as a Ranger. Tatton Park is a very popular and renowned attraction in the north and I have learnt a great deal about historic country estates, as well as visitor services and land management.
Working at Langley Park is not my first experience of being a gardener though. When I left Tatton Park, I worked as a Landscape Gardener for a private firm. I have been employed by the Royal Horticultural Society and was involved with the set up of one of their famous shows. I have also worked on a few jobs in recycling, as well as on a rare breeds farm. But I've never had a job quite as good as the Langley Gardener position. Everyone has made me feel very welcome and I'm looking forward to the years to come.
My name is Ben Davidson and I am the new project gardener here at Langley Park..
Working in a place such as Langley with its ancient parkland, grand vistas, spectacular rhododendron gardens and with its great wealth of history is something I’m excited about. I can tell Langley Park is a very special place.
I have always taken a keen interest in the natural environment since a young age. My particular passion is for birds, they have always fascinated me and I am always keen to learn more about them and the environments in which they live. I am originally from Derbyshire and after finishing sixth form I moved down to Dorset where I worked for the RSPB at the Arne reserve for a year. Arne is predominantly heathland with some marsh areas and wet woodland. There are also some spectacular estuaries which are great for spotting huge flocks of wading birds. Heathland restoration was the main work there and I spent a lot of time cutting down rhododendrons that were encroaching onto the heath. It is a welcome change to now have the chance to grow and manage rhododendrons in the Temple gardens and appreciate their beauty. Working as a ranger at Arne confirmed my passion for the natural environment and I subsequently went on to study Countryside Management for 3 years at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth.
After leaving university I travelled to New Zealand and Australia and on my return to the UK I worked for my Dad in his Construction business as well as a few short term contracts. I have most recently worked for the National Trust at Dunstable Downs. Dunstable Downs is a chalk grass land reserve with fantastic habitats for birds and butterflies.
Here at Langley I am looking forward to continuing with the coppicing of the rhododendrons in the temple gardens and continuing the good work in the arboretum. I very much enjoy working at Langley and I especially look forward to working with the volunteers