My first taste of horticultural training was at the age of 16, being sent down to an organic holding in Sussex to learn how to graft tomatoes. My father’s employer needed to grow organic tomatoes free of root rots. Hence the grafting.

My second was as a Horticultural Technician at Oxford Botanic Garden in the 1970’s, and from there I went on to Pershore College of Horticulture where I gained my National Certificate in Horticulture.

I moved down to Hampshire where my family had settled and helped working on family holdings.  I also started growing and selling plants at this point. Maintenance gardening was a natural progression from there.

A job at Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants followed, setting up and running their propagation department. After 8 very happy years here I started my Masters degree in Horticulture at Reading University, graduating in 2003, and started a ‘proper’ business maintenance and developmental gardening.

In 2005 I became Propagation Supervisor at Fairweathers Nursery in the New Forest. Going from retail to wholesale was a steep learning curve, but it was good experience. I left when fuel price rises made the commute financially unviable and went back to freelance gardening and garden planning.

I was eventually recruited to help run a large  mill garden, staying for nearly 9 years; taking on joint responsibility for the whole garden along with my groundsman colleague, developing the bog garden, herbaceous borders, gravel garden, walled orchard, vegetable garden and grounds. Also propagating a large proportion of the plants we needed for the house and garden. This, plus farm and garden accounts, NGS garden visits, Open Days and much more.

It feels like a logical next step to help people start or progress their own personal gardening journey.