The Head Gardener at Floors Castle is Andrew Simmons. With 42 years experience including previously been employed at Balmoral, Andrew brings a wealth of knowledge, a keen eye for detail and an unrivalled passion for gardening.
Q. What is the best thing about working at Floors?
A. I would have to say the variety. Floors is home to a huge walled garden packed with herbaceous borders, lawns, woodland gardens, hot houses, a vegetable patch, indoor plants, private gardens… the list is endless!
Q. If you could improve one thing about the gardens at Floors, what would it be?
A. I would like to lift and divide the Hot Border. It is so erratic, it is hard to maintain. The other herbaceous borders are all carefully planned and mapped out but the Hot Border runs wild. I suppose you could say that it was part of its charm.
Q. Could you tell us more about the team of gardeners employed at Floors?
A. Well we are very lucky to have an excellent team here. Each has their own specialist subject.
- Len Freshwater is fantastic with the grapes and peaches in the hot house.
- Simon McManus is exceptionally good with potted plants – the streptocarpus especially.
- Brian Shearer is the grass man! He works from dawn to dusk in the summer months to keep the lawns looking neatly trimmed.
- Kenny Thomson is the longest serving gardener and has experience with all aspects of gardening.
Q. Tell us more about working at Balmoral.
A. I worked at Balmoral for ten years and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very challenging because there was virtually no top soil, there was no month when we didn’t get frost and there was lots of shade! But you knew what the family wanted from the gardens and they let you get on with it.
Q. and what was the Queen like?
A. She had a keen interest in the gardens which was fantastic.
Q. What is your favourite plant
A. A rose. Roseraie de l'Hay – it has a lovely crimson colour and the most wonderful scent that you just want to bury your nose in.
Q. What is the best thing about being a gardener?
A. Enjoying the results of all of the labours! It is so rewarding to see the borders looking their best.
Q. And the worst?
A. Last Spring frosts can be damaging and frustrating but you learn to live with the effect of the weather.
Q. What couldn’t you live without?
A. Secateurs to prune those unruly shoots.
Q. If you weren’t a Gardener, what would you be?
A. Hmm…Something outdoors – just the thought of an office job makes my head hurt! Maybe a Mountain Guide?
Q. What is your top tip for budding gardeners?
A. Work with what surrounds you! Don’t try and recreate something you have seen elsewhere. Look at what surrounds you, consider the environment and weather of your garden and plan it from there.
Tenancy: The tenancy will be a Short Assured Tenancy under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988. The Lease may be renewed at the end of the prescribed term of let but applicants should be aware that possession of the property can be recovered by the proprietor at the expiry of the Lease if required.
Entry and Duration: Entry shall be at such date as may be agreed. The duration of the Lease shall be for an initial period of not less than six months.
Rent: The rent shall be payable monthly in advance by Standing Order on the 1st of each month with a proportionate amount payable on entry.
Repairs: The proprietor shall maintain the premises wind and water tight and keep in repair the structure and exterior of the house (including drains, gutters and external pipes), the installations in the house for the supply of water and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) and installations for space heating and water heating with the exception of any repairs occasioned by any act, omission or negligence of the tenant. Internal decoration shall be the tenant’s responsibility.
Painting: The proprietor shall carry out external painting.
Deposit: A deposit of two months rent will be payable on entry. This will be repaid to the tenant on termination of the lease, provided all obligations of the lease are fulfilled and the property left in a satisfactory condition.
References: The Estate will require the applicant, in the event of them finding a property that they wish to rent, to complete a Credit Check before granting them a tenancy.
Other Conditions: All the other customary Roxburghe Estates conditions of let shall apply and a copy of the pro forma Lease can be inspected at the Estate Office by bona fide intending applicants.
Viewing: Arrangements to view the property may be made by contacting Victoria Roddie, Roxburghe Estates Office, Kelso (Telephone 01573 223333)
Tenancy Application: Applications for the tenancy should be submitted on the accompanying form and delivered to Edward Johnson MRICS, Assistant Factor, at the address below.
Roxburghe Estates Office, Kelso, Roxburghshire TD5 7SF