Me & My Job - Simon Scarth, nursery manager, Chew Valley Trees

How did you get started in the industry? We're a family business - mum and dad set up 30 years ago. I worked in the USA in an Oregon tree nursery called Hopper Brothers for a year and since then I've gradually taken over from my parents at Chew Valley.

What advice would you give to others starting out? There are plenty of opportunities. Become an apprentice. If you're young, get a part-time job on a nursery. Nothing beats experience. I've never done any qualifications but from the age of six I was potting up and weeding.

What is your latest project all about? The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) has this category at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and asked members to apply. My sister Elinor is a landscape architect and we agreed to give it a go. We've never done a show garden before. It was a £7,000 budget, which is not easy but it is possible. One bit of leeway was plants could be two years advanced so we priced trees at two years younger than they are. We wouldn't have been at Hampton Court if it wasn't for the APL.

How has business been this year? Very good, after last year was particularly wet. This summer got quieter but we're gearing up for the planting season starting in September.

What industry issues concern you? Obviously there are more and more problems like ash dieback, which was not dealt with well. There's also the plant passport issue, which needs re-looking at.

What does the future hold? We've no more show gardens but we do have a big project for the Steart Wildfowl & Wetland Trust near Hinkley Point power station. There's a lot of European funding and we're supplying and landscaping. It's really big - 100,000 trees and shrubs as well as lots of hedging.

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



Masses of colourful tubular flowers can give these plants a substantial presence in the border, says Miranda Kimberley.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses

Walls, trellises, pergolas and even trees can all be brightened up by these beautiful blooms, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

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.

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