Me & My Job - Michelle Cain, self-employed gardener

How did you get into horticulture? My first horticultural memory was planting bulbs with my nan when I was about eight.

Gardening was always a secret hobby - it just wasn't cool back then. My other love in life was music, so I spent my teenage years playing in various orchestras and bands before studying classical music at university. After graduating, I spent eight years in the music industry, mostly in the live sector. It was great fun for the most part but after a bad career move I found myself really unhappy and turned to horticulture. I decided to take a course at Capel Manor College and the rest is history.

What does your typical day involve? It varies from job to job. My main client prefers me to work according to the biodynamic calendar, so I spend roughly a two-week period sowing, potting on and planting out and another couple of weeks weeding, tidying and doing any other non-planting jobs.

What is the best part of your job? There are so many good aspects. I love being outdoors and the physicality of my job. I also like managing my own time. My clients make the job really worthwhile. I've met some wonderful people, almost all of whom become friends as well as clients.

And the worst? Insect bites and wasps, which I hate.

What piece of kit can you not do without? My mini-rake. I never realised quite how useful they are until I actually had one.

How do you relax? I go home and chill out with either a nice glass of wine or cider and whatever's on TV.

What does the future hold? Who knows? I'm currently getting into horticultural journalism, so adding another string to my bow. Ideally, I'd like to combine running my own maintenance business with some horticultural writing and possibly even some design work.


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