"Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful,' and sitting in the shade." Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1935, Journalist
Alan, The Boss How did you come to work as a gardener? I was given a garden design course as a birthday present and decided to take the plunge and make my hobby my career! I've never looked back as the business has gone from strength to strength, and even my kids get involved from time to time!
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? The variety of fabulous gardens we look after, meeting so many different people and working with a great team.
What is your favourite plant? The potato! Because it provides us with chips, mash, can make gin or vodka and is easy for the kids to help grow!
Gardening tip Mulch, mulch, mulch! It provides nutrients year round, keeps soil warm in winter and moisture in during summer, as well as keeps many weeds at bay!
Anything else we need to know? In my previous life, I once sold a bottle of wine for £24,500!
Abbi, Office Manager How did you come to work as a gardener? Our business had grown sufficiently that Alan couldn't take on any more work by himself, so when my last hotel contract finished, I decided to join him. I only garden a few days a week, but those are enough to make the office days less onerous!
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? The fresh air and tranquility, and being trusted to take care of someone's pride & joy. I also love the way that learning is organic - see a plant you don't know, look it up, learn it and then you see it everywhere!
What is your favourite plant? Roses! No, peonies! No, wait, hellebores! Don't ask me, it's too hard to choose!
Gardening tip Take some time to prune your roses in the winter for a fabulous show the following year.
Anything else we need to know? In between running our business, working as a hospitality consultant and raising our son Isaac, I am doing a Landscape Drawing course!
Catrin, Gardener How did you come to work as a gardener? I have always enjoyed working outside and gardening, particularly pottering about in my parent's gardens. After getting my psychology degree and trying a few different jobs, I found working out in the fresh air was a hobby I was consistently drawn to. So I started the Royal Horticultural Society course in practical horticulture and got myself a gardening job with HHGS!
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? Everybody is very friendly and you feel part of a team. It’s a good company to continue to learn and develop one’s horticultural skills. Plus, the cakes and biscuits you often get on the job doesn’t hurt either!
What is your favourite plant? I don’t really have a favourite plant. Generally, I tend to like rocky plants such as alpines, which you find in mountainous areas. They are hardy, low-maintenance and can make a garden look very natural and pretty. I particularly like sempervivum.
Gardening tip I’m not sure if this is a common old wives’ tale, but my Grandma used to tell me to pick root veg such as parsnips after very cold and frosty weather. Apparently, the frost forces the plant to convert starch into sugar to cope with low light levels, which makes the root veg much sweeter. Worth a try!
Anything else we need to know? I’m an animal lover, so if you have a cat or dog I have no problem with them moseying around with me while I garden!
Tish, Gardener How did you come to work as a gardener? I grew to love being outdoors while living in Australia as a child. I had my first success growing pelargonium cuttings in parched earth and never looked back! As an Infant teacher I loved growing plants with the children and attending forest school. I finally made the decision to make it my career and have enjoyed every moment since.
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? Working with a friendly, enthusiastic team who share my passion as well as such a lovely variety of clients and gardens. No two days are the same!
What is your favourite plant? I love wildflowers and their place in any garden or urban space. I also love roses for their scent, amazing variety and beauty. Gardening tip Encourage beneficial insects by planting some wildflowers in your garden as well as companion planting. Both practical and beautiful!
Anything else we need to know? I love our native wildlife and walking. Also meeting friends in cafes for coffee and cake!
Mike, Gardener How did you come to work as a gardener? I had hours to fill in my working week and wanted a practical outdoor occupation to compliment the other work I do. I also felt that I could put to good use a lifelong interest in growing and caring from plants and was delighted when I was accepted to join the team.
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? Since joining, I have had the pleasure of working in a huge variety of superb gardens around the Cotswolds and further afield and I have expanded my knowledge of plants, shrubs and trees as every day is a learning day when it comes to gardening!
What is your favourite plant? Gunnera – it comes back bigger and better, year after year!
Gardening tip Buy your plants from a genuine nursery rather than a showy garden centre and do your research before purchasing; remember, not every plant grows everywhere!
Anything else we need to know? When I'm not gardening, I'm photographing! I specialise in wedding, equine and commercial photography.
Robyn, Gardener How did you come to work as a gardener? I moved back to the UK from a decade of living abroad and couldn’t think what to do with myself. I found myself spending all day, every day in the garden and realised how happy it made me. Now I can’t think of anything I’d want to do more. It’s always been a love and a passion, but now it’s become quite the obsession!
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? The team, obviously! And the variety of different jobs. I love getting to know a client and the individual needs of their garden, but then also have the opportunity to throw yourself at a new project. I’m constantly being encouraged to learn and I can’t get enough. What is your favourite plant? I couldn’t pick a plant, it’s like a trick question. But my favourite garden companion is easy: I’ll spend all day chatting back to the robins that follow me about. Gardening tip Get your hands stuck in that dirt! It supposedly increases your serotonin levels, which would be why you can’t wipe this smile off my face. That and the constant Vitamin D - never have my nails felt so strong and looked so good (once I’ve scrubbed the dirt out from under them)!
Anything else we need to know? Looks can be deceiving: I love digging in the dirt more than anything. I’ll end up covered in mud by the end of the day, regardless. I never quite know how.
Adam, Gardener How did you come to work as a gardener? I spent days and days in the garden as a child with my parents and sister, You could have huge bonfires and burn anything in those days. Now I spend days in the garden with my family creating raised beds, fruit cages, compost bins, veg patches and messing about in the pond.
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? The variety of fabulous gardens we look after, meeting so many pleasant and interesting clients and working and learning with a great team.
What is your favourite plant? Any type of fern; it’s their structure, the way they grow and unfurl.
Gardening tip Enjoy every minute of being outside, getting dirty and feeling good about growing and creating…
Anything else we need to know? I’ve barrel rolled, looped the loop and flown upside down in a vintage biplane!
Petal, Gardener's Assistant How did you come to work as a gardener? I discovered from a young age a love for the outdoors. And leaves! I love leaves!
What do you enjoy about working for HHGS? All the lovely smells. And having my ears scruffled by all the lovely people!
What is your favourite plant? The dogwood obviously, the colours in the winter are so pretty. Gardening tip The noise from the birds and insects in the garden is one of my favourite sounds; look out for the bumblebee sign on labels when buying in a garden centre to ensure your garden is buzzing! Anything else we need to know? I'm happy to have a snooze in the van if your garden is a no-dog zone. But I'm very well-behaved and very friendly so feel free to give me a cuddle!
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