Me & My Job - Lucy Boyd, head gardener, Petersham House

How did you get started? I trained as a cook but horticulture was in my family.

My mum is a horticulturist and when we were children we used to go foraging in Italy, which is were we grew up. But it was when I had a job at Babbington House in Somerset that I started working more with gardens. Eventually I found myself in the potting shed more than the kitchen. After I had children I changed career and came to Petersham as an apprentice.

What does your typical day involve?

At the moment we are regenerating the perimeter yew hedge and planting more yews. I also have responsibilities in the nursery for sourcing and buying plants so it's a mixture of practical stuff and organising. We also have "how to" workshops - there's one on staking coming up on 16 March.

What is the best part of your job?

Probably the actual planting and gardening and trialling new seeds. I love trialling new seeds and seeing what will come up. We now have a cutting garden here that we created from scratch to supply the restaurant with cut flowers, and that is very rewarding.

And the worst?

Paperwork and the amount of time that it takes up.

What piece of kit can you not do without?

My spade. I want to try and get a copper one soon because it feels so good to use and the contact with the soil seems to be very compatible.

How do you wind down after a hard day's work?

I like a hot bath with lots of jasmine after working in winter. I like rowing in the summer and in the winter I like lighting my fire, relaxing with my family and going for walks.

What does the future hold?

I want to keep working in gardening because I love it and to increase my knowledge of plants, which is another great joy of this work - we are constantly learning. I want to find better and more beautiful plants and use them in ways that are really new and creative.


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