Adapting To Change – The Future of Sustainability

Hand Picked Hotels, Riebeek Nursery and Creation Wines share insights on the future.  Peter Morrell was there to hear about the creative ideas being employed to achieve integrated sustainability

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On the opening day of Chelsea Flower Show, Hand Picked Hotels hosted an insightful afternoon, which explored the future of sustainable luxury hospitality through the lens of horticulture and wine.

Speakers included Julia Hands, founder, owner and CEO of Hand Picked Hotels, Corné Pretorius, co-founder of Riebeek Valley Garden Centre, Carolyn Martin, founder of Creation Wines and esteemed garden designer Caroline Scaramanga.

Corné Pretorius, world-renowned horticulturalist and co-founder of South Africa’s Riebeek Valley Garden Centre – which is home to one of only two rare Baobab trees in the Western Cape – shared his inspiring expertise on the world of plants. Having travelled all the way from South Africa to talk about the magic of the country’s plants, Corné shared his insights on how indigenous South African plants can now be grown in the UK and can support a more bio-diverse landscape, in which wildlife can thrive.

Carolyn Martin, founder of the award-winning sustainable winery, Creation Wines, from Hemel en Aarde in South Africa’s Western Cape, shared her philosophy on enhancing the beauty of nature through delectable wines, whilst highlighting the impact of biodiversity on fine wine. Showcasing this philosophy, Carolyn took guests on a wine tasting journey at the event.

Esteemed garden designer and expert horticulturalist, Caroline Scaramanga, shared how she is helping Hand Picked Hotels transform its gardens and outdoors spaces, supporting the brand’s evolution whilst keeping climate change front of mind. Aligning with Corné’s expertise, new, non-invasive South African plants are being included in some of Hand Picked Hotels’ extensive British gardens. Plants such as Agapanthus and Amaryllis, that can now be successfully propagated and grown here in the UK, can survive the longer, hotter, dryer summers the UK is experiencing without the need for extra watering.

Julia Hands, founder, CEO and owner of Hand Picked Hotels, commented, “Our extensive grounds and gardens are signatures of Hand Picked Hotels. In our efforts to become more sustainable, we recognise the important role that plants, trees and shrubs play in supporting a more balanced and harmonious ecosystem. Here, we can take inspiration from South Africa too.

Hand Picked Hotels is a family owned business with the ability to plan for the long term. This year, we are delighted to be sponsoring the Burncoose Nurseries garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, where visitors can see a variety of the plants and shrubs mentioned here today. It’s a beautiful display of plants and flowers which are able to grow in our changing climate whilst helping to combat it. Their work, and that of Corné and Carolyn, is helping to inform the decisions we make at Hand Picked to deliver a more sustainable luxury hospitality experience for our guests and our people.”

This year, Hand Picked Hotels will be incorporating more of Creation Wines’ fantastic range into its offerings, providing guests with exceptional, award-winning wines that are produced with sustainability at the forefront.

Peter Morrell, editor, comments “I was very impressed with the amount of thought and creativity that has gone into this project. All the speakers gave a clear vision of how integrated sustainabilty can benefit everything and everyone. Tasting the Creation Wines proved that ecologically sound methods of production really do make a differences. For example both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines I tasted were elegant, world class examples of what can be created with this approach.

This week, Hand Picked Hotels is also hosting a series of unforgettable events at a selection of its country house hotels across the UK and the Channel Islands. Diners can join Guy and Julia Hands, founders of Hand Picked Hotels, with Corné and Carolyn for a magical celebration of South African food, wine and horticulture, featuring a sumptuous meal as well as informative talks from each of the renowned experts.

Events will take place between 23 – 28 May 2023 across five of Hand Picked Hotels’ 21 country house estates with either a lunch or dining experience available.

Tickets to the dinners at cost of £120pp.

  • Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa (Northamptonshire)
  • New Hall Hotel & Spa (Warwickshire)
  • Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa (Surrey)

Tickets to the lunches at cost of £75pp.

  • Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa (Jersey)
  • St Pierre Park, Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort (Guernsey)

Full details and menus can be found in the event brochure here…

For more information on the hotel events, to book tickets or find out more about the hotels, please visit

About Hand Picked Hotels

Hand Picked Hotels was founded in 2001 by owner, Chairman and CEO, Julia Hands MBE. Julia’s love of historical buildings, the English countryside, local food, and good wine inspired her dream to own a collection of hotels that would celebrate these passions, and invite others to share in them. It was important to Julia from the outset that guests could feel at home at Hand Picked, whether it was for a romantic escape, a corporate retreat, a magical wedding celebration or a chance to simply enjoy some rest and relaxation.

Hand-selecting unique properties from Scotland to The Channel Islands, and overseeing the re-development and interior design of each one, Julia has created a group that comprises 21 distinctive hotels, each offering an abundance of character and charm in locations inviting plenty to see, do and explore. Whilst each hotel within the family-owned hotel group is individual, consistency of service runs central to the brand’s DNA, so guests can expect a personalised service delivered with genuine warmth and a welcoming smile to exude the Hand Picked values of family, community, initiative and individuality.

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