Meet our team…
I’ve always loved working in my garden – the great outdoors! Working hard to achieve a space which I can then relax in and feel proud of the hard work I’ve put in to enjoy it. I’m a self-taught gardener and my earliest memories of gardening are ‘taking care’ of my parents’ round and rectangular privet hedges. I love the look of carefully trimmed hedges, a weed-free colourful flower bed and neat lawn edges.
I’ve recently enjoyed constructing a woodland path. I find structure pleasing in the garden, by way of shape, height and form. Every garden is different and has the potential to make it a magical space!
When I was a very small child I would follow my Dad around the garden and, I think to get a bit of peace and quiet, he would find me something to do. As time went on I was given my own small circular patch of garden for which he bought lobelia, alyssum, pansies and petunias for me to plant and look after. I think he used to water and weed them more than I did though. I’ve tended my own garden all my adult life, in both the UK and Spain where I lived for 13 years. I moved back to the UK in 2012 and now have a small garden mainly filled with shrubs and containers. I have also worked as a temporary seasonal assistant at a local nursery sowing and potting on veggies, preparing spring and summer bedding and planting containers and hanging baskets for retail. Sue lives in Chessington and is gardening for the team in Chessington, Esher, Walton-on-Thames, Hersham and Epsom.
I am a keen gardener who loves to learn more about plants and general garden maintenance. I grew up in Crawley and now live in Horsham, West Sussex. My gardening skills began with helping my parents and grandparents in their gardens and I have had my own garden since the early 1990s. I can easily lose myself in the garden, working hard with the care needed to maintain a flourishing garden. Last year, I moved to a brand new house in Horsham, where the garden was just bare ground. I have now transformed this with numerous roses, hydrangeas, fuschias, azaleas, acers and rhododendrons, to name but a few. I have also added beautiful pots full of colour to our garden and you can see some of them in my photo. I hope, going forward, to help local clients to be able to achieve their gardening dreams. Based in Horsham, Richard is gardening in locally and in Cranleigh, Broadbridge Heath, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath
‘Since a young age I’ve always enjoying being out in nature and around wildlife, but my understanding of gardening began when I gained a space of my own to cultivate about 12 years ago. Once I learned the amazing environments that can be created even in small spaces using all different sizes and shapes of plants and shrubs and trees, I was hooked. Since then I’ve gained as much knowledge as I can to help gardens to thrive through-out the growing season and into the next. This can mean that In my spare time it can prove tricky to entice me away from the garden. I also keep a few hives of honey bees and enjoy birdwatching.’ Chris is based in Gomshall, Surrey and is working in Godalming, Guildford, Cranleigh, Dorking, and surrounding villages.
I am never happier than when I am in nature, particularly the little wild flower meadow at the bottom of my garden. A childhood growing up amidst the wilderness of my Mother’s cottage style garden, learning about the nurturing skills needed to help things grow in my Grandfather’s veggie patches and the technical, plant knowledge needed within my Grandmother’s more formal, exotic garden by the sea, a wonderful variety of environments, have all contributed to a love of gardening. Over the past few years I have gathered a collection of insightful gardening books, many left to me by my Grandfather which I treasure. Alongside the knowledge I have gained from literature, my practical experience lies within the gardens of my family and friends, as well as my own. As well as growing a variety of fresh produce I have created a precious little garden for my family that I hope my son will learn a great deal from. To me, gardens are sacred spaces and gardening is a wonderfully therapeutic practise. To be in nature, helping plants to thrive, is where I love to be. Georgia lives in Surrey and is working in Shamley Green, Godalming and Milford.
For me, gardening is inspiring – from the individual gardens to gardeners (past and present) – and pleasurable. Being outside and working wih nature, whether tidying and maintenance or being creative, has always proved very satisfying, and gardenig for others, quite simply, spreads the joy! I have over 25 years of gardening experience – I have lived with two gardens, and have re-designed both, putting in a rockery, new beds, trees, a wildlife pond, tending fruit trees and vegetables. I have also helped family and friends with their gardens, practically and with ideas and solutions to problems. I am very glad to say that I have turned “the passion” into “the profession”. Happy days ☺ Stephanie is based in Mytchett and is gardening locally and in Milford, Guildford, Godalming, Church Crookham and surrounding villages.
“I have a passion for plants and the amazing things they do for us – both practically and in terms of their affect on our well being. A few years ago I took on an abandoned allotment and have been working on it to make it a productive plot, using organic methods and permaculture principles (such as companion planting) to get the best out of it without harming the environment.
From growing veggies to cultivating my own container garden, my love of germinating plants and watching them thrive has inspired me to take my passion for gardens and plants, and use it to help make other people’s gardens somewhere they really enjoy being. My passion is growing and maintaining gardens in line with nature as much as possible, as I believe this is the best way to get the
most out of our green spaces.”
Maddy Jennings is another new member of our Surrey gardening team. Maddy is gardening in Bramley, Shamley Green, Godalming, Guildford and Cranleigh.
I used to work in chemistry as a researcher, until I realised I was fed up with being locked up in a lab and decided to pursue a career in horticulture. I took a four-month vocational gardening course in Italy and worked as a trainee gardener at a villa near lake Como, then moved to England, where I’ve being working on an organic and biodynamic farm in West Sussex since June 2015, first as a volunteer and then as a full- time employee. I’m striving to get more experience and expand my knowledge: every day I learn something new and I’m very excited about every new step I take towards my goal of becoming an excellent gardener. I am very motivated and passionate about what I do.
“I’m an enthusiastic gardener and love spending time outdoors. I have developed my ‘unusable’ allotment and ‘never before touched’ garden into thriving paradises with fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. I have spent many years volunteering with The National Trust and with Surrey Wildlife Trust in hands-on countryside management and am keen to further my passion in this field. My parents are excellent gardeners who are almost self sufficient, which has given me a good insight into dealing with plants from a young age.”
Jenny Goodhand is one of our gardening team in Surrey. Jenny gardens in Godalming and Thursley.
“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.” Anu is our latest recruit to our mentoring team and she works on gardens in Guildford, Surrey.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
I have a great interest in the natural environment. This love comes from my parents, my mother loved wild flowers and my father enjoyed growing vegetables. Other family members and friends have also enhanced my knowledge of plants. I studied a correspondence course in gardening and have gained additional knowledge from both the local horticultural society and the Royal horticultural society.
The softening of our buildings with gardens I believe is important to our wellbeing. Plants can bring so much colour into our lives.
My garden is a small garden with fruit trees and bushes. My front garden is all in containers and has a naturalistic theme. I am trying to build up my collection of herb plants.
Helping friends with their gardens has given me understanding of how to fit in with our people’s gardening tastes.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Julia has been with us for five years and is a much loved member of the team as well as an extremely knowledgeable gardener. Over the last couple of years Julia has taken on the responsibility of mentoring our newest members of the team. This not only ensures that our standards remain high but also that new team members start in their own client gardens with confidence. She continues to be a regular gardener for 6 happy clients too!
“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.
I started my horticultural career studying arboriculture at Merrist Wood. I had intended on becoming a tree surgeon, but the more I learned about trees, the more I became fascinated with all the other various plants, fungi and creatures that lived around them. I then spent another year studying nursery practises and plant propagation, and then several years working at a nursery growing ornamental trees. Over the years I have also been maintaining my own woodland as a hobby and love pulling up Rhododendrons and chopping up fallen trees in my spare time. I enjoy working on large-scale gardening projects involving trees and shrubs, but I also like the challenge of getting maximum impact from smaller sized gardens too. I’m also a big fan of nature gardens and like to encourage the use native species as well more exotic varieties of plants. Dan is now gardening in Farnham, Camberley, Godalming, Guildford and Aldershot.
“I inherited my love of gardening from my Mum and Grandmother, who both adored their gardens. As well as having my own garden I work as a volunteer gardener with a local animal sanctuary and have helped with a local school gardening club. Having worked for most of my life as a graphic designer, I have recently begun to study for a diploma in garden design, which has been a dream of mine for some time. As well as the design aspects of gardening I love to get out and work in the garden, be it planting, pruning, or weeding – which I find most therapeutic! I feel passionate about caring for nature and helping people to make the most of their outdoor space and want to create something beautiful for them to enjoy. “
The newest member of our Surrey Gardening team, Christine will be looking after our clients in Fleet, Farnham, Haslemere, Frimley, Alton and Bentley.
I first began gardening helping my parents in their garden, not only with flowers and shrubs but with vegetables and fruit too as self-sufficiency was a norm at the time. As time went on I have been maintaining my own garden during my spare time, but now I am retired I have been able to really throw myself back into gardening with a passion.
In the last four years I have developed my own garden and I’m helping friends keep their gardens maintained as well. I love all aspects of gardening and love the satisfaction you get from a job well done. Kevin lives in Fleet and is gardening in Fleet, Farnham, Church Crookham and surrounding villages.
Gardening was part of my childhood as both my father and grandfather were big allotment holders and gardeners and I have always had the bug for being and working in the outdoors. Over the years I have manged several allotments and gardens both established mature and new plots. I have a lot of enthusiasm for trying new plants as well as those I am familiar with. I am inspired by some some of the bigger gardens like Mottisfont, Osterley Park, Kew as well as the more modest which I like to visit.
My aim is to create a garden with space with colours, smells and tastes to savour and delight. My ambition is to create an environmentally friendly plot that encourages wildlife and gives the client a place in which to spend time to enjoy.
Colin is based in Petersfield and work locally as well as in and around the Godalming area.
“My love of gardening stems from my parents whose garden was always immaculate. Being outdoors and watching a garden change with the seasons is a joy and it gives me great satisfaction as an unruly plot becomes a thing of beauty and order. My own garden has lawns, herbaceous borders, a pond and fruit trees, which over the years has allowed me to develop my skills in growing and maintaining many different types of plants. I also have had an allotment for more than a decade and I am self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit for part of the year. My knowledge has been further enhanced by studying for the RHS General Certificate in Horticulture and a garden design course, the latter of which I have used to design and plant several gardens. In the past, I have worked at a garden centre helping customers to choose suitable plants and dispensed gardening advice. “
Rowena – our gardener in Ash – gardens in Frimley, Mitchett, Ash Vale, Camberley, Yateley, Guildford, Godalming, Farnham and Normandy.
“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.”
A passion for gardening and plants led Rebecca to spend two years studying part time for the RHS Level 2 Diploma in the Principles & Practices of Horticulture, followed by a year of practical training in a large historic garden through the ‘Work and Retrain as a Gardener’ scheme run by the Women’s Farm and Garden Association, plus volunteering in a National Trust garden. Rebecca’s particular interest is in maintaining and developing borders for clients and she really enjoys the different tasks each season brings, caring for plants so that they give their best, and completing tasks to a high standard.
Rebecca also recently studied for a Plants and Planting Design Advanced Certificate (Level 3) from Capel Manor College, which gave her the opportunity to develop a knowledge of designing with ornamental plants using form, texture and colour in a border and how to create interest throughout the seasons. Rebecca is looking forward to bringing together her planting design skills and knowledge of plants to work with clients to create, develop and maintain inspiring and sustainable planting schemes.
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
Sarah has been with us since we started in 2011 and is a highly valued and loved member of the team. Over the last couple of years Sarah has taken on the responsibility of mentoring our newest members of the team. This not only ensures that our standards remain high but also that new team members start in their own client gardens with confidence. She continues to be a regular gardener for 12 happy clients too!
“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.”
“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.”
I have 5 years’ experience of working to care for public spaces and private gardens. I began as a volunteer in a community orchard and decided to train so that I could garden for a living. I love grafting in the fresh air and I’m not put off by the cold or rain. I gain a lot of satisfaction from gardening, whether it’s the instant effect of weeding a border or pruning for future growth that’ll be enjoyed later in another season. I enjoy gardening because there’s a lifetime of learning to be found whilst doing something for others to enjoy and its really quite therapeutic. I will be looking after gardens in the Brighton, Kemptown and Saltdean areas.
“I was fortunate enough to begin gardening at an early age in my family’s and Grandparents gardens. I would always look forward to getting outside and getting my hands dirty and enjoyed the way everything was always different every time we would get outside in the garden. Growing up I continued to enjoy gardening as a hobby until deciding to undertake a horticulture nvq, where alongside studying horticulture I also gained work experience through the local parks department and volunteering at a national trust property. This gave me the chance to work alongside some very experienced gardeners.
I’m currently self employed as a Gardner where I undertake both maintenance and development of both commercial and domestic gardens. I still enjoy the fact that every day is different and enjoy applying the skills I have developed and getting stuck in to all different kinds of jobs.
Paul has joined our East Sussex team and is based in Hove, he’ll be looking after our gardens in Brighton, Hove, Haywards Heath, Shoreham and Saltdean.
“I love gardening! I always have – even as a child I had my own patch in the corner of my parents’ small holding. Gardening has become quite an obsession for me. I spend as much time as possible in my own garden making it wildlife friendly and have lots of projects planned for it. Last year I volunteered at a local cut flower farm and learnt pricking, potting, planting-out and dead-heading and then bought myself a potting shed so that I can carry on growing my own plants. I have just finished a garden design and maintenance course. I have several regular gardening jobs, mainly elderly people who are not able to manage their gardens by themselves, so it makes me happy that I