Douglas Francis, an experienced horticulturalist, has taken on the role of keeping the 1,065 acres in perfect condition for guests of the five-star hotel.
Douglas has joined Luton Hoo from his previous role as deputy head gardener at Woburn Abbey, home to the Duke and Duchess of Bedford. There he oversaw all of the estate’s operations, including the private gardens of the Duke and Duchess.
His new role as Head Gardener at Luton Hoo will include the management of a team of 8 gardeners, including two apprentices working towards their NVQ level 3 extended diploma in horticulture. Douglas will spend time with these apprentices and share his extensive experience of horticulture with them, to help them excel in their future careers.
Overseeing new initiatives and planned restoration projects, will also be a key focus for Douglas and his team over the coming months.
Speaking after his appointment, Douglas said: “Everyone has been really welcoming and it is extremely exciting to work on an estate with so much history. I’m keen to bring in some new ideas to further develop the estate, as well as maintaining the already beautiful gardens.” The grounds at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa are extensive and full of history, dating back to the 11th century. The current house and grounds were originally built in the 18th century by Robert Adam, for the 3rd Earl of Bute and the grounds designed by the famous landscape architect Capability Brown.
There are many aspects of the current estate that hint at its illustrious past, such as a large variety of trees reportedly planted by royalty of Europe, including one of the oldest cedar trees in the country. There is also a 100-metre deep borehole on the estate, which dates back more than a hundred years and still provides water to the wider community.
Matthew Long, General Manager of Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa said: “After an extensive search to find the right person for the unique position of Head Gardener at Luton Hoo, we were delighted to meet Douglas who is the perfect fit for the role. He brings a wealth of experience that will no doubt inspire those working with him, he will be a fantastic asset to our estates team.”