OFFICIALS at Mottisfont have appointed a new head gardener following the retirement of David Stone in June.

The post has been taken up by the former assistant head gardener, Jonny Bass, who, at 24-years-old, may be in the running to be named the National Trust’s youngest ever person to take up such a role.

Mr Bass said: “I am genuinely quite nervous about it, it’s a bit daunting but I am really looking forward to it.

“[David’s] been so much more than my boss, more of a mentor and a really good friend with amazing knowledge and a really brilliant sense of humour. I don’t know what the future holds, I can’t picture that at the moment. I’m just focusing on keeping together on what David and the team have built, the rest will come in time.”

General manager, Paul Cook, said: “In 1972, Graham Thomas, the then National Trust Garden Advisor, entrusted his collection of 19th century roses to Mottisfont. Since that time, the head gardener here is the guardian of this living museum, which 50,000 people visit each year in June.

“As only the second Mottisfont head gardener in 36 years, Jonny Bass is now responsible for one of the most significant gardens in the world and an estate visited by over 250,000 people each year. It’s something to preserve, protect and cultivate, so that it continues to be such a special place, and can be enjoyed by thousands of people forever.”