JAIME BLAKE - A man for all seasons and the right reasons at Bressingham. 
Jaime Blake - in
 conversation with Jane McInerney

"How did I get into Horticulture? Well, originally I trained to teach...thank heavens no one would employ me! I then went on to work in Peterborough parks department and, when I later decided to move on, the opportunity of joining Alan Bloom at Bressingham presented itself."

"Alan was in his eighties when I arrived and he spent quite a bit of his time showing me how he accomplished various tasks and also backed this knowledge up by writing things down for me; I think I fitted the mould here."

"I was not so qualified as some of my predecessors, who had ideas of changing and developing Alan's 6-acre garden. I'm more of a looker-afterer and not someone with ambitions to make my own mark and I think Alan saw in me someone he could trust to look after his treasured creation. I've been here 25 years now and I can't actually remember when I took over the reins, so to speak, it was more of a gradual process."

"Alan gave me quite a lot of freedom in The Dell garden, allowing me to change long as he could see an improvement and this gave me plenty of headroom which helped me to develop my own skills."

"There have been a lot of changes here at Blooms over the years and a lot of people who used to work here have moved on. Those who come back to visit say it gives them a happy feeling to see that the garden hasn't suffered as a result... it’s a constant in the world of change in which we all live."

The other gardens that form part of The Bressingham Gardens have been developed by Alan’s son, Adrian Bloom (starting with Foggy Bottom and more recently the area known as Adrian’s Wood) overall they cover some 17 acres.

"My place is definitely in Alan's garden...although recently my work has expanded in a different direction and concerns the farm and estate, as we are developing some environmental schemes on some of the waste nursery land and also changing the way that some of the farm is used."

"I'm also involved in a couple of RHS committees: Trials and the Herbaceous Plant Committee. I'm also an ex-Chairman of Norfolk Plant Heritage."

"As part of my Curatorial work, I believe it's important for me to help keep alive the memory of Alan Bloom and what he did here. So, when I have the opportunity I enjoying talking to various groups about him, hoping it will provide some insight into Alan Bloom the man, show his motivations and ambitions, as well as the incredible journey he took to end up at Bressingham."

"I'm also trying to continue with some of the work on plant groups which were important to Alan and, as a result of this, I have some very interesting new plants which I hope will make their way in to cultivation in due course. Persicaria amplexicaule 'Pink Knot' ; Astrantia 'Pink Crush' are examples of this, as well as two AGM plants: Kniphofia 'Penny Rockets' and Phlox paniculata 'Pearl the Girl'."

"There are a couple of new plants though, in particular, which I'm very excited about and I feel they are better than anything so far...but we'll have to wait and see. All of these plants are properly garden-worthy and are not flash in the pan items which end up not being hardy."
Jaime Blake

Jaime Blake will be talking to the Lincolnshire Group of the Hardy Plant Society on the 10 April, 2014, the society of which Alan Bloom was one of the co-founders and its first chairman. I would say that Alan Bloom would be delighted with his son-in-law’s achievements and his legacy is in very safe hands, The Dell Garden is truly flourishing.

I’ve stayed at Bressingham Hall on a number of occasions and early morning, before the visitors arrive, Jaime can be seen with his clipboard making a tour of the island beds and taking notes, or whizzing around on the ride-on mower sprucing up the lawn around some of the island beds. Nurturing and attention to detail is a very important aspect of his work and The Dell Garden
is certainly flourishing in his care.

If you haven’t visited Bressingham yet and experienced its magic atmosphere, why not make a New Year’s Resolution to do so?

It’s a paradise for any gardener or garden lover.               Jane McInerney

                          Jaime Blake: Alan Bloom, a thinker and doer
                          William Farr Church of England School, Lincoln Road,
                          Welton, Lincoln, LN2 3JB.
                          Thursday, 10 April, 2014, at 7.30pm. Doors open 6.30pm
                          Tickets: £5, includes Refreshments.

Coach Trip To Bressingham Gardens 2nd July 2014 Seats now available for booking. See Louth Mini Group Page for Booking Form.

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