Government House gardener honoured for service
GOVERNMENT HOUSE’S head gardener has been awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of his long and loyal service.
Gary Le Poidevin has been working on the garden for more than 30 years.
Born in Guernsey, he began training as an apprentice in the States of Guernsey’s Parks and Gardens department in 1972.
He moved to Government House in 1983 as second gardener and was promoted to head gardener in 1995.
As part of his duties, Mr Le Poidevin cares for specimens in the national camellia collection within the grounds of Government House, and has received many prizes for his cut flowers, especially dahlias, for which he won a national award in 1995.
He receives invitations to judge local shows and those in Jersey.
He has also served as president of the Guernsey Beekeepers’ Association and continues to manage hives within the grounds.
Mr Le Poidevin said: ‘It’s been a privilege to manage the grounds over a period that has seen so much change.
‘When I started it was virtually farmland, sometimes with grazing cattle, and hardly any public access. It’s slowly developed into the estate that you see today, which is also a venue for garden tours, school sports days and charity events.’
He added that he was pleased so many islanders now get to enjoy the grounds: ‘The gardeners put a lot into it, so for us it’s satisfying to see people taking pleasure from it,’ he said.
‘It’s been a wonderful place to live and work.’
Guernsey’s Lt-Governor Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder welcomed the news.
‘I am delighted that Gary has been singled out for this very special award,’ he said.
‘He has served eight Lt-Governors, providing flowers for the house and produce for the kitchen, not to mention keeping 10 acres of grounds neat and tidy, whatever the weather.
‘His work has been enjoyed by countless official visitors, including members of the royal family, along with ambassadors, ministers and senior UK politicians. His record of loyal service to the Crown is remarkable.’
Mr Le Poidevin will retire as head gardener in March next year and he and his wife, Ruth, plan to settle in a house that they have restored in northern France.