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Meet The Team: Sam – The Head Gardener

Feb 21, 2023 | Wedding Planning

Home » Meet The Team: Sam – The Head Gardener
Meet The Head Gardener

Image Courtesy of Farlie Photography

We’ve enjoyed some amazing hot weather here in the UK over the past few summers, and unsurprisingly, outdoor weddings have become increasingly popular.

Why stay indoors when you could enjoy the sun, scenery and nature?

We are fortunate to have stunning gardens here at Baddow Park House. They are an integral part of our wedding venue and offer so many different open spaces, all with their own unique little quirks. So whether you’re looking for pre-wedding cocktails on the natural stone terrace, a wedding ceremony at the outdoor pavilion, or a cosy evening toasting marshmallows around the fire pit, we’ve got it covered!

This is mainly down to the fantastic work of our Head Gardener – Sam.

Meet Sam Cook

Sam Cook: The Head Gardener
Sam has been working with us here at Baddow Park House since 2020. His huge knowledge of landscaping and everything plant-related comes partly from his studies and partly from his previous role as Head Grower at a nursery. His expertise and creativity have really transformed our gardens. 

We’ve put together a few questions to ask Sam to help give you an insight into the person responsible for our beautiful grounds…

What Does Your Role As Head Gardener Involve, And How Do You Contribute To The Weddings At Baddow Park House?

As you’d expect, being Head Gardener at Baddow Park generally involves making sure all the outside areas and gardens look the best they possibly can so that when a wedding takes place, you and your guests can make the most of it.

It’s crucial to keep the gardens looking great all year round, no matter what time of year you choose to have your wedding. So we spend a lot of time on seasonal planting, so there is always something in bloom in the gardens, and so it looks as beautiful as possible for your big day.

The grounds are so varied and captivating here we wanted to make them easily explored without having to pull on welly boots! We have created walkways around the gardens to make them more accessible to guests, so they can take a stroll and enjoy all the gardens have to offer. Most importantly, this also helps save the shoes and beautiful dresses of the brides from getting caked in mud when having their wedding photos taken!

But my role isn’t just about the plants and flowers. There are so many extraordinary spaces that we’ve worked on and developed here. Like the firepit. It’s a unique feature that I really wanted to make the most of, so we’ve landscaped the area around and made it a cosy spot for guests to use. 

I also love the woodland area at the back of the grounds; I’ve spent some time incorporating wooden carvings into it, which our guests love. My next project is going to be the pond area, which I want to landscape and make more of a feature of.

The gardens are constantly evolving, and my role never gets boring. It’s so satisfying to see how they have transformed in the time I’ve been here and be part of the plans for the future.

Baddow Park House Firepit

Image Courtesy of Clare Graham Photography


Why Do You Do What You Do?

I came from a farming background, so I’ve always been interested in working outdoors. I also learnt a lot about planting when I was a Head Grower. But working here at Baddow Park House has really given me the opportunity to be more creative and use my knowledge of landscaping to create great spaces that serve a purpose – to provide a backdrop to the most significant day of people’s lives. It’s this aspect that I really enjoy about the job. 


What Does A Day At Work Look Like For You?

On a normal day, most of my time is spent planning what the team need to be working on and putting together ideas to improve the gardens.

On a wedding day, things are a bit different. It’s all hands on deck! Me and the team are ready to pretty much help out where we can.

First and foremost, I’ll be making sure the gardens are all clean and tidy and ready for guests. But it’s also my job to set up the ceremony chairs inside or outside, in whatever way you have chosen them to be. 

I’m also the first person to greet your guests as they approach the venue. Quite a responsibility! But it’s great to see their faces as they walk into the grounds for the first time and take it all in. Finally, after the initial greetings, you’ll find me behind the scenes preparing the Orangery for the wedding breakfast.

So the working day can be pretty diverse! As much as I love being in charge of everything in the gardens, it’s also great to be involved in the preparations and hustle and bustle of the day.

What’s Your Favourite Memory Of Working At Baddow Park House?

There are so many unforgettable weddings held here at Baddow Park. It’s great to see how couples incorporate their individual personalities and interests into the venue. But for me, any wedding featuring classic cars is always going to be a winner! We’ve had weddings with an Aston DB6, Rolls Royces and Mustangs. 


Do You Have Any Tricks Of The Trade You Can Share?

The Wedding Cake plant – yes, it’s a real plant. I feel like if you happen to be in the gardening trade at a wedding venue, then a wedding cake plant should be included somewhere. It’s got a tiered look (hence the name), and here we’ve put it next to the Orangery. Look out for it when you come and visit!


What Do You Think Makes A Great Wedding?

There are probably two types of weddings here at Baddow Park that I love the most. The weddings here in the summer months are great for the outside ceremonies. I love watching people taking in the garden around them and enjoying the spaces I have helped create.

However, I also think the weddings we have just before Christmas are really special. When our large tree is on the drive, and the decorations are up in the house making it lovely and cosy for an inside ceremony.


Magical Grounds to Get Lost In

Meet The Head Gardener

Image Courtesy of Farlie Photography

We are so lucky to be situated where we are. Set in acres of parkland, we are surrounded by stunning scenery and rolling grounds. We are even luckier to have someone as talented and knowledgeable as Sam to look after the gardens. The work he has done transforming small areas and landscaping the place over the past two years has really made the gardens a magical place to get lost in.

Nestled in the grounds amongst the beautiful woodlands at the back of the venue, you’ll find the Salon. The perfect spot for you to calm your pre-wedding jitters. To find out more about the secluded Salon and what it has to offer, read our blog here…

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