Me & my job - Mike Harper, managing director, Poplar Nurseries

- How did you get into horticulture?

I left school at 15 with no qualifications. I was required to pay £1 a week board and lodgings at home, and to achieve this, I took up the position locally of apprentice nurseryman. When my grandfather died, I became self-employed, took over the hire of his smallholding and bought some land of my own. I did this while still working full-time at a local nursery, and with the help of my wife, worked day and night, including weekends, until we had saved enough to buy our current premises in Emneth near Wisbech.

- Who or what is your inspiration?

As a lad, I worked with my grandfather, who encouraged me to set up my own business. He always used to say that it's better to work for yourself even if you only earn half as much as you would working for someone else.

- What's a typical day for you?

I meet the staff in the yard at 7.30am and organise the work for the day. Then, I see to customers and arrange for deliveries and collections.

- What has been your best experience?

Meeting my wife, who has worked alongside me throughout the years and supported me in my dream of running my own business.

- What has been your worst experience?

In 1963, the winter weather was so severe that for 12 weeks we were unable to work the land because the ground was frozen several feet down.

- What's the most important thing you have learned?

Always listen to advice, but at the end of the day, you should make your own decisions.

- What does the future hold?

As I am now 67, I hope I will be able to continue to help and advise my two children so that they can secure the future of the business for many generations to come.


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

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.

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Mitigating climate change, providing windbreaks and reducing the risk of soil erosion are some of the best reasons for planting trees, says Sally Drury.

Tree and shrubs - nursery market

Tree and shrubs - nursery market

Growers are more optimistic now that garden designers and landscape architects are seeking more mature trees and shrubs, writes Sally Drury.


Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

At the time of writing - a few days after the general election - sterling has weakened and we still have no idea of what Brexit means.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

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.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles