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Meet the new Head Gardener

Man in summer t-shirt and shorts standing in a park in front of a fountainThomas Bartlett recently started at Univ as our new Head Gardener. Here he tells us a little more about himself.  

Hello, I’m Tom and I’m the new Head Gardener at Univ. I live in a village near Chipping Norton and have been based in Oxford and the Cotswolds most of my life.

I’m probably what you’d describe as an outdoors type, and I’ve always loved working outside. I started my career at Ball Colegrave, a nursery and trials grower, working over a few summers, before going to college to study arboriculture, countryside management and conservation. I left college, becoming a trainee gardener at Lord Heseltine’s 70-acre arboretum at Thenford House and since then, I’ve worked in many different gardens across the Cotswolds.

More recently I was part of the senior leadership team at University of Oxford’s Parks department for eight years and I had the fantastic opportunity to work in the historical settings of the colleges – an office background many would envy! I’ve joined Univ from Barton Abbey, a 20-acre private estate in Oxfordshire, where I was head gardener.

At home, I live with my wife, Jessica and my son, Fred who has just turned two. Needless to say, he keeps us both occupied for the majority of the time; but in my “spare” time, I enjoy working in my own garden, visiting new places, cooking and music.

My first weeks at Univ have been great, everyone has been friendly and helpful. In the coming months, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the grounds. We’ve got some exciting plans for the new site at Univ North and for rejuvenating existing areas, such as the Goodhart borders and Cecily’s court, looking to build in even more biodiversity and greater sustainability into the gardens.

Published: 13 November 2023

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