Me & My Job - Alec White, managing director, Dingley Dell

Alec White, managing director, Dingley Dell - image: Dingley Dell
Alec White, managing director, Dingley Dell - image: Dingley Dell

How did you get started in the industry?

I've been interested in horticulture for years. I originally trained as a lawyer but we bought the nursery six years ago and I wanted to get out of the rat race and work outside.

How did the site develop?

We've built up from scratch but chose the roughest time to do it. We have a loyal following and the Dingley Dell club has almost 2,000 members now. My mum runs the coffee shop and we do workshops and talks. My dad does the sheds and landscaping so it's all coming together and we've been making a profit last year and this year. We just have 12-15 staff and we're a friendly, happy team.

How was it exhibiting at Hampton Court?

We won second place in the best plant village exhibit. I designed the garden using a drought-tolerant natural, coastal theme. Plants included those grown on the nursery from our wild flower collection. I'd been trying to get in for years but it was incredibly difficult. We've been exhibiting at the HTA National Plant Show for two years and got talking to some people there and they helped us get a place after someone dropped out. It was a fabulous week and we had lots of great feedback.

What does the future hold?

We're going to apply for Hampton Court again next year with a bit more of a plan and hopefully get into Chelsea one day. We're increasing our range and doing more wholesale to the industry. We do a little but supplying locally, mostly alpines and herbs. We grow lots of interesting and unusual plants that the big boys are interested in doing commercially. Growing a bit of everything is the only way to keep your head above water in the current climate. Most of our customers like some herbs, alpines and perennials so they've always got something.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

There are ways to find quality candidates for horticultural jobs if you widen your search parameters, Alan Sargent suggests.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

Mowers, turf care, battery equipment, seeds, arboriculture kit and weed control will all see a wide range of new releases at Saltex, Sally Drury reports.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

IOG Saltex

Get set for IoG Saltex 2017 with our comprehensive show guide and exhibitor info.

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

BALI National Landscape Awards 2016

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space

Read Noel Farrer