Meet the experts - Mr Vert

Mr. James Vert, head gardener at Audley End House in 1881, was from a family of gardeners, his father being the gardener to the 5th son of the Earl of Harewood, James then becoming an apprentice on the Harewood estate. Arriving at Audley End House he replaced William Harrison who had proved inadequate and been fired after a few months.

At Audley he was in charge of 55 acres of pleasure grounds and other intensively managed gardens (the estate was 6675 acres in total in 1904), including the kitchen gardens at 8.5 acres in 3 compartments. Mr. Vert remained with the family, moving to Chirk Castle with them in 1912. However when he left he purchased the business of Saffron Walden market gardeners William Brand and George Webb. This was run as James Vert and Sons, with his eldest son, Fred as manager and co-partner. They are described in the Gardeners Chronicle in 1914 as ‘hollyhock specialists’

Drop by the ‘In Conversation’ stage in the Parterre Gardens to hear ‘Tales from the head gardener’

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