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Head Gardener & Team

The team at Himalayan Gardens has been carefully selected to ensure our gardens are crafted and looked after year round with the up-most care and skill. We have a truly passionate team that look forward to welcoming you around this very special venue. 

  • Raymond Abraham

    Head Gardener

    My career in Horticulture started when I was very young, as I had a fascination in growing and propagating plants especially as we lived near to Saville Gardens and the Valley Gardens of Windsor Great Park with their amazing collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. After being at Horticultural College I never dreamt that I would be given a position at Windsor and to work and be trained by then the very people that created Saville Gardens with plants that the Victorian plant collectors bought over was second to none. I was immensely privileged to be in such a position and to this day the knowledge they shared with me gives me great admiration for the hardships and trials the Victorian plant hunters had to endure to bring us such rare and beautiful plants.

    After Windsor I worked for a nursery in Derbyshire which grew plants under Royal Warrant for Windsor and other Royal Gardens.
    We primarily grew from cuttings of rhododendrons and azaleas and when large enough sent to the Royal Gardens the Head of propagation; who had an incredible knowledge about the same plants that were at Windsor.

    All through my career I have tried to cover all aspects of Horticulture and worked at many great Country Estates with similar plants, and various Garden Centres and Landscape companies that specialized in selling and planting Rhododendrons and Ericaceous plants and with scented azaleas. I have been fortunate enough to have worked in various high profile gardens around the world and then coming back and working at the world renowned Minterne Gardens in Dorset that is a garden of unique beauty with a wonderful collection of Rhododendrons, Azaleas and ericaceous plants that has some of the original plants that were brought over to the aristocracy of this country. The BBC produced a program about Minterne and the plant Hunters of which I featured in which was an incredible experience.

    Now I have started at a Garden in North Yorkshire that has a huge collection of Rhododendrons an Azaleas and of ericaceous plants that has been collected from many of the country estates around the United Kingdom. Some of the plants are very rare and one of the goals is to propagate these so that they do not become extinct in the wild. The collection here at the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park is of extreme importance to the future conservation of Rhododendrons and azaleas for the biodiversity of this species.

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  • Phil Cormie

    Practical Plantsman

    Born in Newcastle, my earliest recollection of garden plants were the old, gnarly apple trees growing in my grandparents back garden. My own interest in plants started at a very young age. When I was 5 years old, my mum made my dad get an allotment. It was the best purchase that my parents ever made, mum and my two sisters would go shopping on a Saturday whilst my dad and I plodded around the allotment for some peace and quiet. This is where my love and passion for horticulture began!

    However, horticulture wasn’t my original career choice. I left school at 18 and chose to do a degree in International Business with French. After the first year, I realised an office job was not for me and I would prefer to work outdoors. After 6 months of deliberation about what I should do, my mum suggested doing something I love – gardening.

    In 2009, I enrolled on the BTEC National Diploma in Horticulture at Newcastle College. The course reignited my love of plants and I decided to further my horticultural knowledge and education by studying for a Bachelor’s of Science degree with honours in Horticulture with Plantsmanship at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and Scottish Rural College.

    My degree has really enhanced my knowledge of all things horticultural as it combined many aspects of horticulture and applied plant science. This was achieved by combining the practical experience of plant cultivation and management with advanced knowledge of plant identification, diversity, classification and distribution. The course enabled me to gain an in-depth knowledge of a wide range of global flora by utilising the world renowned plant collection at the RBGE.

    During my studies at Edinburgh, I worked at Edinburgh Zoo during the summers to increase my practical horticultural skills and worked at a large bedding plant nursery.

    Two months after graduating, I was offered the fantastic opportunity to come and work here at The Himayalan Gardens as a Practical Plantsman. I accepted the job as I could see the vision for the garden and wanted to be part of the growth and development.

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  • Selina Shackleton

    Events & Marketing

    Organising a range of events from expert gardener tours, talks with our head gardener or childrens fun days, I'm passionate about making the Himalayan Gardens a great day out for a wide range of audiences.

    selina