On Tuesday 17th of October staff and volunteers, past and present congregated in the garden to see David Standing unveil his new bench. David retired from being Head Gardener in May, and the bench marks his 38 years of service to the garden.
David Standing often jokes that he first came to Gilbert White’s to do a few ‘odd jobs’, however much of the current layout of Gilbert White’s garden is thanks to his hard work as gardener and his research as an expert in White and gardening in the eighteenth century. His infectious enthusiasm for the garden and charisma has inspired visitors, staff and volunteers over the past few decades. His jokes and charisma were very much an addition to the appeal of the garden. Rose Malyon the current garden manager remembers her first memories of David. ‘I first visited Gilbert White’s Garden more than 30 years ago and met a very erudite and enthusiastic young man whose passion for this garden was an inspiration. Later, I became a volunteer and I soon began to share that passion. What I remember most is how much we laughed, even at David’s dreadful puns and we were laughing so much we almost forgot the sheer impossibility of keeping up with a garden of this size.’
The bench was bought for the garden by donations from staff, volunteers and well wishers and was presented to David last week. David was delighted to see so many friendly faces from over the past 38 years show their faces in support. He expressed his love for the garden ‘It really it was part of me for so many years. And what I really enjoyed was working with staff and volunteers, it was nice to meet so many characters. In gardening everyone seems to be happy, gardening’s got a good bunch, don’t you think? The bench I think is magnificent, I’ll come and sit on it from time to time, and hopefully it will be interesting to people who in years to come will think ‘who the heck was he?’. The amount of people who were able to come and the host of well wishers are very much a testament to how loved David is amongst the team, and how much the museum and garden team look forward to him returning periodically!