I started my career in Jewellery design but swiftly realised that my passion lay in working with nature, my whole family were hobby gardeners and the love of plants was instilled at an early age. My granddad taught me how to grow veg and my mum, who inherited her artistic flair from him, taught me about ornamentals. Our house was always filled with cut flowers from our own garden, every windowsill was covered in houseplants and in the spring my dad would add Tomatoes to their already overcrowded surfaces. In short I grew up gardening.
My horticultural career started in the Midlands where I had the opportunity to work with tropicals, installing show gardens, maintenance & design of private gardens. I volunteered at Birmingham Botanical Gardens & enrolled at Pershore College to study Ornamental Horticulture & RHS Level 2, determined to be the very best at my chosen career. That determination paid off when I was hired by Ryton Organic Gardens. There I was in charge of their flagship garden “The Vegetable Kingdom”. I would give talks and demonstrations on Organic principles to school groups and visiting public.
It was at Garden Organic I cut my teeth on Public speaking and found I enjoyed teaching people how easy gardening could be.
I then joined the team at Sissinghurst Castle to help build their Organic veg garden, an incredibly challenging but immensely satisfying role. We started with an empty field and planted an Orchard full of Apples, Plums & Cherries. Loganberries, Raspberries & Blackberries, Red, White & Blackcurrant bushes all grown Organically. Vegetable beds grew every crop imaginable throughout the year supplying the onsite restaurant & Farmers Market. We introduced a No-Dig system and would educate volunteers, school groups & the public onsite about growing quality Organic food.
Whilst at Sissinghurst I would often go to the wider community on behalf of the National Trust to give talks. At the Wealden Times Midsummer Fair I was asked to sit in on their Gardeners Question Time. I was also incredibly honoured to be asked to design a show garden on their behalf for which we won a Gold medal, judged by the formidable Jim Buttress.
After nearly 5 years at Sissinghurst I wanted to return to working with ornamentals, seeing the gardens on a daily basis had inspired me to return to working with flowers. The skills I had honed on Fruit & Veg. were incredibly useful as the pruning regimes used to increase flowering on fruit trees can easily be transposed to rose pruning & training for example.
I chose Hole Park as my next destination, a private family home since the 1920’s open to the public, I was working with an incredible Head Gardener who increased my knowledge of shrubs & trees phenomenally. Whilst there I worked hard on my self development, visiting gardens, learning from other gardeners, going on courses and training days.
Finally I felt confident enough in my own abilities to take on the mantle of Head Gardener myself and pass those skills on to a new generation. I now have my own team of Gardeners with Elizabeth Claire based in Wimbledon and run training courses.
I am available to hire as a consultant on a wide range of subjects from design of soft landscaping, renovation & garden management. I give lectures and talks on Organic practices, vegetable production both large & small scale by allotments & societies. Historic gardens & ornamental gardening.
I have recently visited Peru & Nepal where I was able to take an in depth look at subtropical and alpine habitats and native species.
I am happy to tailor my courses & lectures to your specific needs.