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.


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