Head gardener at Wynyard Hall has green genes as well as green fingers as sons follow into profession

Mark Birtle with sons Leo and William.
Mark Birtle with sons Leo and William.

The head gardener of a luxury four-star hotel has proved that he has green genes as well as green fingers ahead of this year’s Father’s Day.

Mark Birtle has not only followed in his own father’s horticultural footsteps by working at Wynyard Hall, but his sons Leo, 20, and William, 17, also work alongside him.

They all work tending to the 150-acres of stunning parkland and gardens at the hotel and spa – including 3,000 roses, a Wild Garden, a Valley Garden and a new Edible Garden and greenhouses.

“I guess you could say we’ve got gardening in the genes,” said Mark about his three-generation horticultural expertise.

“Leo started working with me three years ago, but recently my younger son William began an apprenticeship scheme here too – and it’s wonderful to garden together.”

Mark, who has been head gardener at Wynyard Hall for more than 20 years, added: “I never put any pressure on them to go into gardening but we all love being outdoors, so it’s been a natural step.

“And the best bit is, I don’t just get to spend time with them on Father’s Day, we’re together every day of the year!”

The Walled Garden at Wynyard Hall opened in August last year, featuring a display of 3,000 roses.

The £1.6million development, to the north of the Hall itself and within the estate’s 150 acres of grounds, houses a state-of-the-art visitor centre, shop and cafe.

It’s completion was the second stage in a £5.3million rolling programme of work to create The Gardens at Wynyard Hall – which will eventually cover four acres and be one of the largest rose gardens in the UK.

It’s not just Mark and his sons that will be kept busy during Father’s Day weekend this year, with the site hosting a whole weekend of activities aimed at doting dads.

As well as a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea in The Wellington Restaurant, there are ‘Go Guy’ male facials at the hotel’s spa and gift hampers in the Farm Shop.

And, on Sunday June 19 from noon, there’s a special Father’s Day Barbecue on the terrace with locally sourced sausages, burgers and drumsticks, salads, family activities and a free drink for dad on arrival.