Rebecca Lemonius- Custodian/ Head Gardener
Rebecca followed a circuitous route to the world of horticulture. After graduating with a degree in Economics from Queens' College, Cambridge, she qualified as a lawyer and embarked on a legal career.
Her first foray into gardening was a very over-populated balcony in London, followed by a garden of virgin clay in Kent. Undaunted, circumstances led to her and her husband, Lars, purchasing Long Barn in 2007. The ancient house and historic garden became Rebecca's job, so she apprenticed herself to the head gardener and learned by doing, taking courses including the Art and Craft of Gardening at Great Dixter and a number of Garden Masterclass programs. She finally worked out how to embrace clay.
It is a privilege to be a custodian of Long Barn. The responsibility, whilst considerable, sits more comfortably by remembering Vita Sackvile West and Harold Nicolson were very much amateurs when they lived here.
Gardening is something everyone should feel empowered to be involved in, there is rarely just one way to do things and trial and error is a great teacher. To paraphrase Vita, 'the first rule of gardening is that there are no rules at all.' However, Rebecca would add that seeking out some good advice along the gardening journey makes the path a little less bumpy.
Andy Ferris- Senior Gardener
Andy's route into gardening began with a simple love of nature and the outdoors. Gaining an MSc in Animal Behaviour from University of Exeter, he initially pursued a career in conservation and had the fortune to venture to exotic locations such as Madagascar and experience unique flora and fauna. He eventually settled on horticulture as a way to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle whilst creating habitats to be enjoyed for their aesthetics and the ecosystems they can help to support.
Emma Jo Real-Davies- Assistant Gardener
Russell Webb - Groundsman
Russell was born in Zimbabwe and grew to love nature and the outdoors on his uncle's tobacco farm and in the wider farming community. As a young man, he spent two transformative years in Israel, working in construction and in moshavs, expanding his global horizons.
In the late nineties he ventured into the bamboo business in South Africa, spanning installations, wholesale and retail. He travelled to China and gained a Bamboo Cultivation, Processing and Utilization Certificate in 2013 and served as an Executive Committee Member for The National Bamboo Association of South Africa (NBASA) from 2013-2015. In 2018, the United Kingdom beckoned.
In his words, fortune smiled when Long Barn sought a groundsman in 2019. Entranced by the gardens, Russell applied and is now nuturing his lifelong love for nature in this new chapter of his journey.
Anna Ribo - Consultant Gardener/ Garden Designer