Meet our team…

Vanessa Spicer

“I’m a mum and grandmother. I absolutely love being outdoors, growing and designing gardens and spaces. It’s a great privilege to work with a client creating a beautiful garden for them to enjoy. I really enjoy spending time with others, finding out their gardening interests and passions, and also learning new skills and knowledge myself.”


Anu Baldwin

“My love of plants and flowers developed from an early age growing up with the smell of frangipani and jasmine, surrounded by a riot of colourful bougainvillea and hibiscus. When we moved to the UK my great aunts and parents influenced me greatly, educating me about the garden and nature. We were expected to tend our veg plots and enjoy the fruits of our labour. Since I’ve had my own family I have tried to instil a love for growing plants in them. Gardeners’ question time and Gardeners’ World are part of my life, I’m an RHS member, I love colour and nothing excites me more than being out in the fresh air.”


Neil Longhurst

“I am a reliable, friendly and hard-working people-person. There’s nothing more I like to do than spend my time in the garden. I love looking after our own garden and also my father’s. I spent 7 years working at a retirement village in Cranleigh, looking after the 27 acre site which included a wide range of garden maintenance, mowing, weeding, hedge trimming, strimming, pruning, planting and spraying. I have decided to take a career change into gardening as this has always been my passion and I just love being outside.”


Victoria Hazard

“I worked for several months as a horticulture assistant at Sparsholt College. I helped to maintain the shrubs, plants and vegetables in the greenhouses. I also worked for a developer and assisted in establishing and maintaining the garden of the property that was being developed. I travelled to Findhorn, Scotland for a week to work in a beautiful, organic garden and I helped to maintain my elderly neighbour’s garden for some time. I have my own garden (I never have enough time in it) and used to share an allotment.”


Rachel Phillips

“I’m an amateur gardener from a passionate and enthusiastically green-fingered family. I grew up in large cottage gardens in Norfolk and spent a considerable amount of time as a child helping with the garden, from mowing the lawn, planting and weeding flower beds to tending an extensive vegetable patch. I’ve always loved physical work and being outside in the elements and I’ve spent half of my working life tucked away in an office, so I’m determined to spend the second half working in something I feel passionate about. I’m hard working and conscientious and have spent years working in client facing roles so understand the need to build a good working relationship with clients, which I’m sure is essential in the gardening business too. Gardening is something I’ve always loved and with two young children it’s very hard to give the time I’d like to be able to at home, so the idea of being able to go out and work as a gardener would be amazing.”


Laura O’Sullivan

“My love of the outdoors stems from growing up on a farm. I have always enjoyed growing things even if it has just been pots on a balcony. My own garden is small but I have re-designed it to accommodate the needs of my children whilst still providing a relaxing sanctuary. It’s a difficult plot with areas of dry shade and areas of dry sun. Being small every plant must earn its place in terms of shape, colour, texture, scent and resistance to slugs! I love walking round the garden in the evening and surveying the results of my hard work. There is nothing more satisfying than a few hours physical work transforming a space. Relatively recently I took on an allotment which the whole family is enjoying. Eating your own produce is the most rewarding experience. Although most of our soft fruit never makes it home, the children always get there first.”


Deana Horsey

“Having just completed my college course (at Merrist Wood) I am very keen to get some more hands-on experience and to put the skills I have been learning into practice. Working at a National Trust garden has been an inspiration, they have such high standards and it has been an excellent way to enhance and broaden my academic qualifications. I would very much like to bring these skills to life to help other people get the most from their gardens. I began studying to give me more confidence to tackle my own garden as I inherited some beautiful specimen trees and shrubs which had been planted about 20 years ago but it had become very overgrown. I have gradually been updating different areas. Much as I love working in my own garden, it would be great to meet other like-minded people and to work in some different gardens. I am a late career changer and I can’t wait to get started!”


Ben Turner

“As a boy, I lived on an old country/farming estate with fields, woodlands, an orchard, old farm buildings and stables and also very close to the River Wey Navigation, all of which led me to appreciate a rural lifestyle from a young age. Additionally my father has always been a keen gardener and kept an allotment and his enthusiasm for cultivation also played a major role. In the late 1990s I rented a small property in Farnham with a pretty South-facing cottage garden which I was asked to care for. This was my first step towards regular garden maintenance which then mainly consisted of weeding, mowing, pruning, hedge trimming etc and I always enjoyed doing this, never considering it a chore. In the early 2000s I moved to Guildford and for the first time became responsible for my own garden which included various shrubs, lawned areas and a pond. This enabled me to keep up my maintenance skills and develop new ones as well as experiment with plants in various areas to see what worked and what didn’t, to the extent that I probably spent just as much time outside the house as in it. Currently I am completely re-developing one side of the garden in order to make space for an allotment so I can grow my own produce. This will be a new venture for me and I look forward to learning from it. I also help my father twice a week with his garden.”


Andrew Gould

“I have maintained a wide variety of gardens since leaving school in the 90’s. I enjoy all aspects of gardening and mostly enjoy preparing a garden through the winter to make for an easier life in the summer. All those wet cold days mean the world to me when I see the fruits of my labour the following year. I have worked for myself since 2000 and trained at Merrist Wood around this time. I am extremely interested in fruit production and this is an area I would like to thoroughly master.”


Richard CoeRichard Coe

“My passion for gardening goes all the way back to my childhood. I was lucky to experience many different types of plants and flowers growing up, both here and in several tropical countries, all of which fueled my interest. I was involved professionally as a foreman on a fruit farm during my university years, which gave me a good grounding when dealing with fruit growing and pruning. My plant and flower knowledge has been developed over the years by my enthusiasm and interest in the subject, and from watching gardening programmes. I’ve also helped out in many different family gardens on a regular basis (my parents having been RHS members for many years). I am diligent, work hard and enjoy being creative.”


Caroline SturgeCaroline Sturge

“I have loved plants, flowers and gardens since I was a child, but ‘real’ gardening began for me when we moved to our current house, 25 years ago.  Recently I made the decision to give up the legal profession so as to spend my time in the outdoors. My garden is a bit of a challenge, mainly due to surrounding trees casting shade and taking moisture out of the soil. Over the years I have become an expert in finding the right plants for difficult places and now enjoy putting that knowledge to use in other people’s gardens. An aspiring ‘good-lifer’, I keep hens in the garden and a small flock of sheep locally. My allotment, which I have run for over 15 years, produces vegetables, soft fruit and (increasingly) flowers for cutting so for part of the year we are almost self-sufficient. Planting, pruning, weeding and propagation are my favourite gardening tasks and a good mulch of compost provides the finishing touch.”


Jonathan AustenJonathan Austen

“I have been hooked on gardening since selling my own lettuces at the front door at the age of 9. In 2004 I started gardening professionally with my own company and specialised in creating Kitchen Gardens. I have an RHS Certificate in Horticulture from Merrist Wood College. I particularly like growing fruit, vegetables and herbs which can look good and taste good too. I believe gardens can be special places and I like creating them – there are often simple improvements that can have a big impact.”


Nikki WhiteNiki White

“I have always had a passion for gardening, since a very early age when I was presented with packets of seeds and a discarded enamel sink in which to plant my first garden. As the only child of parents who were both keen gardeners, I spent most of my time ‘helping’. As I grew older, I took charge of a portion of the vegetable plot, so that we were virtually self-sufficient in vegetables. When I moved into my own house, I completely redesigned the garden myself, removing unsightly straight concrete paths and creating softer curves and pathways leading you around the whole garden. I chose the plants myself, intermingling the new planting with existing plants. I also created an area in my own garden for growing traditional plants for natural dyeing purposes, as I am both a spinner and weaver. I have helped as a volunteer creating woodland areas and ponds and clearing undergrowth. I still maintain my parents’ garden and have also cleared an overgrown garden in their second home, creating something aesthetically pleasing out of a neglected bramble patch. I am not afraid of hard work and at present I am in the process of creating a gravel patio with stepping stones and planting. I like being outside in all weathers and particularly enjoy a challenge. I value the opportunity to work in an environment for which I have a great passion.”


Rebecca LloydRebecca Lloyd

“I greatly enjoy gardening and am studying for the RHS Principles of Horticulture Level 2 certificate. I enjoy working in my own garden particularly growing hardy annuals from seed, planting window boxes, choosing perennials, weeding and mowing.  I am finding the RHS course very interesting particularly the opportunity to develop plant knowledge.”


Angela DayAngela Day

“I have been in love with plants and nature since a young girl and come from a family with a good, sound, gardening knowledge. I have a passion for gardening, wildlife and animals and have done part-time gardening maintenance work off and on for some years. I also love planting design and have re-designed three gardens’ borders from scratch, creating gardens with structure, all year round interest and overall easy maintenance, which I find is in demand in these busy times. My love of pattern, colour and structure led me to take and pass the KLC Designing with Plants Certificate. I consider my main skills are basic maintenance and planting combinations.


Pippa BeesonPippa Beeson

“From the age of 5 Father Christmas gave me ‘oodles’ of seed packets annually to throw in my parent’s garden and that’s how it all started!  Since then I have had 10 years’ experience in commercial horticulture and 14 years as a self-employed gardener with tonnes of home gardening/re-designing in between.  The best part is the relationship that develops between oneself and the environment.  Pruning shrubs and edging lawns are my hot spots!”


susan bonnettSusan Bonnet

“I have been a keen gardener for 20 years and in that time I have had a cottage garden, a garden with traditional herbaceous borders and currently I have a 0.6 acre garden which is in two parts with contemporary planting by the house and a more naturalistic style in the second half of the garden. I also look after my mother’s garden which is an 0.3 acre garden planted in a romantic style so I am used to taking instructions from a client and liaising with them about what plants to prune etc.”


Karen a passionate gardener at Grayshaw & Yeo, gardening servicesKaren Clay

“Gardening has been a passion of Karen’s for years. Karen enjoys maintaining gardens and the satisfaction of looking back over what she has done.”


Elspeth FletcherElspeth Fletcher

“I trained as a gardener through the Work and Retrain as A Gardener Scheme (WRAGS). Duties included all aspects of garden maintenance within a large private estate – propagation & greenhouse management, fruit & vegetable growing, ornamental borders, lawn care, hedge planting, use of power tools & petrol driven machinery.  I am a volunteer with a local primary school’s garden club & previously volunteered with Thrive. I am also a member of the Women’s Farm & Garden Association, RHS member & member of Rowledge Garden Club.  I have attended workshops on : Permaculture, Rural Skills & Wood working, Plant Identification and Designing & Planting a kitchen garden & Start-up Business Day.  I am currently working towards RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development (Distance Learning).  The WRAG scheme has confirmed my desire to make horticulture my second career. I have a genuine interest in learning about new plants, am happiest getting my hands dirty and believe if a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing well.”


Paul HendraPaul Hendra

“I developed my love for the garden from my mother. As a child I spent time helping her in our beautiful cottage garden in a little village near Winchester.  I have experience as a hard landscaper and have branched into the creative field of gardening.  I enjoy hard outdoor work and take pride in creating and maintaining gardens that I and my family would be happy spending our time in.  My favourite project to date has been the complete design, build and planting of a small town garden with 3-tiered decking, borders, lawn and a rockery/pond.  I moved to Surrey at Christmas 2013 and have been renovating my large, previously abandoned, cottage garden since.”


Sarah Jones - planting up containers & baskets

Sarah Jones

“Gardening is something I really enjoy. I have lived in two houses where I have planned, planted, turfed and maintained the gardens. Last year I bought a small greenhouse and I now grow vegetables as well. I enjoy weeding, deadheading, mowing the lawn and generally tidying up the garden. I also enjoy planting up containers and baskets.”


Russell NiciRussell King

“I have trained as a garden designer and have designed and implemented a number of gardens including soft and hard landscaping. I have also carried out maintenance for clients. I enjoy planting new plants, clearing, mulching and feeding. I also prune and trim hedges and feel it’s important to maintain the gardens structure.”


Jennifer McEwanJennifer McEwan

“I have always been a home gardener but studied at Merrist Wood in 2009.  I have worked part time for the last 2 years maintaining a 1 acre garden.  I also do 1 off jobs, clearing, tidying and designing.  I have also worked at Tournament Stud creating and maintaining the jousting field, reinstating the cottage garden and creating a usable vegetable patch for the farm.”


Tina Morris gardener with Grayshaw & YeoTina Morris

“I worked as a florist at Marley Flowers for 9 years, while training in floristry I also studied basic horticulture. I then went on to work for Country Market selling green house plants. Generally I have grown up gardening; my father is the head gardener at a local large country house, but still has a fantastic garden at home. I have also in the past 3 years helped a lady revamp her entire garden as the garden had taken over. I enjoy gardening and feel confident that my knowledge grows every season.”


Isobel NatolieIsabel Natolie

“I have always loved flowers and nature, I get pleasure from looking at the garden and planning what to do next. I gained a lot of my interest from my mum and my husband who both love gardening. I particularly enjoy weeding, dead heading and maintaining the plants in the garden. I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing a garden neat and tidy.”


IMG_0212Julia Taylor

“I am a keen gardener and adore gardening and spending time outdoors.  My favourite jobs are weeding, tidying and planting.  I have a real passion for plants and am lucky enough to have a mother in law who is an experienced gardener and I have learnt a lot from her.”


Kate Millington

“My introduction to gardening began 20 years ago growing vegetables in Australia. A mild interest quickly developed into a passion as I moved around various market and kitchen gardens learning the tricks of the trade. Until 12 years ago if a plant couldn’t be eaten I wasn’t interested, then I moved into my present house and inherited a garden than needed attention and I suddenly understood the joys of ornamental gardening. I continue to learn from it and it never fails to surprise me. I love the way every year is different and get such pleasure from seeing the changes through the seasons. Any task is an enjoyable one – even weeding!”


Jo Ransom

“My love of all things floral and horticultural has been inherited from both my grandfathers – one a flower market-gardener, the other an allotment addict for 50 years! I spent my college years studying floristry then returned a few years later to complete my horticulture training and teach as a support staff member. I have also been lucky enough to participate and exhibit at many national shows including Chelsea Flower Show. My true passion is creating and developing gardens and working with the natural environment. I believe a garden should reflect its owner and its personality.


Peter Gratrex

“I am a self-starting, self-motivated person who can happily work alone but particularly excels as a team player. Having worked between gardens, offices and warehouse I am adaptable and methodical in my approach. I have an engaging and positive attitude and can communicate to a high standard. I have a keen interest in horticulture, recently undertaking garden maintenance full-time in addition to a voluntary role at Kew Gardens.”


Jason Wilkinson

“I have recently returned to the UK having spent the last 6 years living in Australia. In conjunction with this move I am also embarking on a career change after 19 years as a police officer in both the UK and Australia. I would love to immerse myself now in horticulture as this has been a constant hobby and passion for many years. I have recently commenced the RHS level 2 certificate in horticulture and am now seeking further practical experience to compliment this.”


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