We decided find out a little more about what inspired him to become a gardener and ask him some top tips for any of you 'budding' gardeners out there.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you first got into gardening?
I loved being outdoors as a child, and used to help my mother who is a keen gardener.
There are three things I particularly remember. Narcissus cyclamineus a tiny alpine daffodil, growing in the top of a low wall in the garden and the Edelweiss growing nearby and the fact that old woollens and cotton clothes, like shirts, were buried in the ground and rotted away. I thought it was amazing that the soil could actually ‘eat’ them!
I left school at 16 with a few ‘O' levels and went to work for Leicester City Council in the Housing Department on the 13th floor of an office block. Needless to say, I soon asked for a transfer and became a full time gardener. It was one of the best decisions I ever made!
What are your top three tips for a beginner gardener?
- Success and failure are part of gardening; enjoy your successes, learn from your failures and you’ll soon become a great gardener.
- Don’t be over ambitious. Start off with small projects and it will help you to gain confidence.
- You will receive lots of advice from more experienced gardeners, listen to everything they say, then do what you think is best!
What's your favourite time of year in the garden and why?
Each month has its pleasures, particularly April and May, when the garden is bursting into life but I love September, with its warm settled days and beautiful light. It is a time when you can appreciate the rewards for all your hard work through the year, particularly in the fruit and vegetable garden.
Describe your own garden/your favourite public garden
My own garden is still ‘work in progress’. This year I am creating an exotic border and woodland garden filled with my favourite plants, to take it one step nearer to completion. My favourite garden? It has to be The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew where I spent three fantastic years as a student.
What's your most used garden tool?
My secateurs, I’m forever snipping and clipping to get the best from my plants. I have some Novatec secateurs from QVC and they are really sharp!
What's your favourite plant and why?
The hardest question you can ever ask a gardener – which is normally side stepped with the response, ‘the one I can see at the time’! At the moment it is Arisaema sikokianum, the ‘Japanese Cobra Lily’. Its spring flowers are a sumptuous mix of dark chocolate, lime green and glossy white, they look incredibly exotic but it’s hardy and perfect for a woodland garden – preferably, mine!