Me & My Job: Alex Rennie, head gardener, Hadlow College

Alex Rennie, head gardener, Hadlow College. Image: Hadlow College
Alex Rennie, head gardener, Hadlow College. Image: Hadlow College

How did you get started? After doing Saturday jobs working on people's gardens, I started work with a local landscaper when I was 16. I trained for the National Certificate of Horticulture at Hadlow, then the national diploma. Then I took a job as a gardener at the American ambassador's house in London, where I spent four years before starting at Hadlow as head gardener 13 years ago.

What does your typical day involve? Hadlow college is split over three campuses, so I usually start by making sure all the garden staff have got jobs to do. I have a lot to do with student practicals as well. We have 10 acres (0.4ha) open to the public that we look after as well as the equine and animal management units, the sports pitches and the rest of the college gardens. There is always planning to do.

What is the best part of your job? The variety. There is always scope for trying out new things. I also enjoy talking to the students and lecturers. We have a lot of students from Africa, Europe and Asia, so it's interesting to talk to them about gardens and the different plants they have in their own countries.

And the worst? Ofsted inspections, paperwork and administration. We do bulb trials for supermarkets so I have to write up the reports, which is OK on wet days but I would rather be outside.

What piece of kit can you not do without? My secateurs.

How do you relax? Looking through plant books. I like the countryside and I enjoy walking the dogs. I spend my spare time with my family.

What does the future hold? The college is constantly being developed. It was built in the 1960s for a small number of students, so there is a lot going on.

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

Tractors - Maintenance models

Tractors - Maintenance models

The tractors chosen by professionals across the sector reflect the best features, backup and support on offer, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs
Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017 - the winners!

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2017 winners.

Contracts & Tenders

Products & Kit Resources