A gardener, with my own north-west facing plot in Teddington, I share my time with Petersham Nurseries, on the banks of (well in sight of) the River Thames near Richmond. A magical environment that demands horticultural excellence, expertise and creativity.
My experiences and ongoing horticultural explorations inform every aspect of my work. Every day brings a catalogue of questions and horticultural queries and an ability to communicate well is essential. Those that have met me will know that I spend my days talking – and listening of course – to the Wide World that come through the impressive gates.
The Nurseries are small, but carry an extensive range of seasonally changing perennials, shrubs, trees and fruit trees, a delicious collection of herbs, roses of course, wildflowers and alpines, tender beauties for spring and summer colour (the trademark Babylon Dahlias are just coming through in the Cutting Garden and we are awash with scented Pelargoniums just now) – a veritable treasure trove of plants for the home both indoors and out. Add a beautiful Garden Shop, antiques, vintage and artisan furniture and ‘lifestyle’ products plus a Teahouse and celebrated restaurant – and all of the events we host and are involved in – Frieze Art Fair, Wilderness – and the new store opening soon on Floral Street in Convent Garden. Well, it is a busy, beautiful place to while away my working week! Sorry, Advertorial over …
I go by the title of Horticultural Team Leader and Plant Expert. The former I can allow of course but the latter is more of a process than a post. As long as I am curious about horticulture, gardening, gardens, plants, design, garden history and gardeners, there is hope for me. There are vast worlds of horticulture that are entirely alien to me at present but you keep learning.
Contributing regularly to the workshops that form the curriculum of the School of Garden Inspiration at the nurseries – a diverse technical, practical and inspirational range of courses – allows me to pass along many of the skills and expertise I’ve gained and keep me at the top of my game.
Academic study includes Commendations at RHS Level 2 and Level 3 in Horticulture with ongoing study and assessment – for example I’ve attended many courses at David Austin Roses and with the esteemed Michael Marriott, at Great Dixter with Fergus Garrett, the Earth Centre in Oxford (fruit tree pruning and community orchards) and recently in Italy for a Rose Pruning Course in Assisi (Quando Fioriranno Le Rose) – there is always more to learn, I know this as both pupil and a teacher.
I’m a member of the RHS, National Trust, Historic Roses Group, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Kew Gardens and take every opportunity to visit as many gardens and events as I can – the RHS London Shows, Chelsea and Hampton Court – trade shows too, at the very least – Kew and RHS Wisley every few weeks and new locations often (see my series of Postcards from Wales, Shropshire, Oxfordshire and Sussex) keeping abreast of classical and contemporary garden design and all manner of planting styles, combinations and new plant introductions.
Wherever I can, I write about these visits here – and I can indulge my love of photography as well. There is a lot of photography here but please respect my ownership of these images and seek permission if you should want to use any of it.
I’m a habitual denizen of both Instagram and Twitter (there are links on the Home Page), Facebook finds me with many, many like-minded friends and my wordpress output finds its way to Tumblr, Linkedin and probably some other sites. Who has time to check? A shy and retiring Horticultural Geek I am not. As much as I enjoy contributing to the social media in this way, I am inspired and learn much from the folk I follow and often much more than I might ever offer myself. For me, it’s a win-win situation though I apologise if I (often) post in huge blocks of images or tweets. Can’t help myself …
In short then, these pages are a sincere expression of my love of plants, gardens, and gardening. I hope you enjoy your time amongst these pages, return again, and find something to inspire your Horticultural World.