New Head gardening team for Parham House

Parham House and Gardens, in West Sussex, has announced the appointment of a new head gardening team. Erika Packard will take on the role of Head Gardener and will be supported by her husband and horticulturalist Tim Miles as Assistant Head Gardener. (both pictured banner above) The couple will join Parham in September 2019.

Ericka has always wanted to pursue a life-long passion for horticulture and following a successful career in journalism and communications, she went on to train as a community horticultural educator. She volunteered with the Piedmont Master Gardeners in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, in the United States before moving to Scotland where she was awarded a BSc degree in Horticulture with Plantsmanship from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, finishing top of her class.

Erika then went on to become Head Gardener at a large private garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith in Kent. She also has a keen interest in needlework and flower arranging, which are significant features at Parham House and its history, creating an exciting opportunity to further interweave the House and Gardens.

Talking about her new role, Erika comments: “I am very excited by the chance to lead an already accomplished team as we continue Parham’s upward trajectory as a notable British garden. I plan to bring horticultural rigour, an artist’s eye and a plantsperson’s wide palette to develop a garden that honours its dramatic historic setting while providing an inspirational experience for its visitors.”

Erika will be joined by her husband Tim Miles, who moved into horticulture in 2014 after a career as a chef in prestigious restaurants around the world. Tim graduated from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh with distinction in July 2017 and that month began work at Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent. In 2018 Tim won the Chartered Institute of Horticulture’s Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.

Tim explains that he met Erika at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and it has been their dream to develop a garden together: “We are especially grateful to Lady Emma and her husband James for having the vision to engage us as a team,” he says. “We believe working with them and the existing gardeners at Parham will be a dynamic creative collaboration that will push the garden forward into a new and exciting stage of development.”

Energetic and knowledgeable horticulturists

Lady Emma Barnard, chatelaine of Parham, comments: “Erika and Tim are energetic and highly knowledgeable horticulturists, with a sophisticated eye for detail. They understand and share what has always been my simple vision for the Garden, namely that, in order for it to continue to flourish as a dynamic part of the visitor attraction, the emphasis should remain on it being an uniquely beautiful, tranquil family garden of exceptional quality.”

Parham is one of the country’s finest Elizabethan houses known for its rare collection of paintings, furniture and needlework.

A four-acre 18th century walled garden includes a vegetable garden, orchard and a 1920s Wendy house. With opulent mixed borders and abundant greenhouse, the house is provided with flowers and plants to decorate every room. The adjoining pleasure grounds include a lake, specimen trees and a brick and turf maze.

We wish Erika and Tim every success as they embark on this new chapter in their horticultural lives.

Parham House & Gardens is open to the public from April to October.

Picture credit: ©and credit Erika Packard.