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A Day in the Life of David Chanudet
Head Gardener for Cape Resorts
When I arrive at Congress Hall, I begin where I left off the day before, working my way around in a clockwise manner. It’s a continuous cycle; by the time I get around the clock, I have to start over. All of the plants are trimmed with hand shears, which is not the “old-fashioned” way, it’s just the right way. The electric ones may be faster, but their cut isn’t as crisp. I always make sure to take a moment to look out over the ocean. For a horticulturist, there are many places to work, but there aren’t too many gardens on the beach, and none like this.
The whole time I work, kids are running around. They play Frisbee, baseball, wiffle ball…occasionally, a toy plane will buzz by my head. The Congress Hall lawn is their playground. Parents will be happy to know we use horticultural oil to deter insects – no chemicals. After lunch, there is a lot of watering…maybe two hours a day. It’s not just the sun drying stuff out; there is a constant sea breeze to contend with. We tend to boxwood hedges, to make sure they’re uniform as possible; the lilies, which we plant close to the walkways so that guests can smell their aromas; and the spring bulbs – we have at least 20 varieties.
People come up to me during the course of an afternoon with all sorts of questions. Sometimes, people just want to chat. The best compliment I ever received was from a guest who said it was the gardens that made their stay at Congress Hall. Around 4pm, it’s time to head home, where I tend to my own garden; it’s small but intense. I won’t go inside until I’ve devoted an hour or two to it. I’m constantly changing things around; come to my house every two weeks, and the garden will look different. Then, I usually head to the beach and sit with a book or take a dip in the ocean. At home, I make dinner on the grill – I live on my deck. Finally it’s off to bed, so I’m nice and rested before another groundbreaking day.