Meet our team…
“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 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.
“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 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 can help them too!”
Vickie, our gardener in North Lancing, is gardening across Hove, Lancing, Shoreham and Findon.
“I have trained and qualified through the Royal Horticultural Society and gained further knowledge and experience working with the RHS at their Wisley Garden Plant Centre. My love of plants, flowers and wildlife has resulted in achievements in my own garden which continues to inspire me. I enjoy carrying out all garden maintenance and creating attractive displays with pleasing results.”
Zarah, part of our Surrey gardening team, is currently gardening in Esher and Lightwater and looking for more clients to fill her garden portfolio in Weybridge, Woking, Chertsey, Shepperton, Hersham, Walton on Thames, Guildford, Thames Ditton, Hampton, Sunbury, Esher and Ottershaw.
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 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 have always enjoyed gardening. I was proud to work in a huge prestigious garden centre and enjoyed helping customers with their purchases and horticultural projects. I happily nurture and maintain my own gardens from scratch, digging out new beds, creating new paths and trying to introduce just the right plants to create new vistas, helping nature to be even more beautiful. I love to support people to achieve the same in their gardens, so that they can enjoy their haven as much as I do mine. My Grandad fed his wartime family from his allotment, my green-fingered parents loved pottering in their garden, my florist Aunt created a rainbow of flowers, and my sister and I have always enjoyed visiting open gardens, garden centres and ‘Chelsea’, and sharing our horticultural knowledge together. Gardening is in my blood.”
Michelle, our local gardener in Chingford, London. Chelle is gardening in gardens across Chingford, Loughton, Walthamstow, Woodford, Cheshunt, Chigwell, Enfield, Epping and Romford.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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!”
“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 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 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 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 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 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.”