My favourite place: Dawn Aldridge, Senior Gardener

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This might be cheating, but I have two favourite places at Glyndebourne, and it depends on the time of the year which one is at the top of my list. I am lucky as they both happen to be areas that I am responsible for, so I don’t even need to make an excuse to be there. As a gardener I feel that I should like all kinds of weather, because gardeners are hardy, but I don’t. I do not like the winter. When it is cold and miserable outside there is no better place to be than in the greenhouse, it is dry and at least a few degrees warmer. In winter the tender plants are kept safe in the greenhouse and plants raised from cuttings in autumn slowly grow. By early spring the benches are overflowing with seedlings and the greenhouse is full of energy optimism, it is a place to lift your spirits when the weather does not.

When it does eventually warm up and the greenhouse empties I can usually be found in the Bourne Garden. Some of the plants are giants and as tropical as we can get in our climate. When I am working in amidst the plants, listening to the bird calls, I could almost be in a tropical jungle, ( I do have a very good imagination!). I like that sometimes people can walk past and be completely unaware that I am there, or they hear a rustle and out I pop. Passersby often quiz me on the plants, usually asking for the name of the tall blue towering spikes – they are Echium pininana. When the rehearsals start, music drifts down through the fern fronds and banana leaves, accompanying me as I work. Maybe it is because this border allows my imagination to get creative that it is my favourite place to be.