Gordon Lucas, gardens ­manager, ­Horniman ­Museum in London.

Gordon Lucas, gardens ­manager, ­Horniman ­Museum in London
Gordon Lucas, gardens ­manager, ­Horniman ­Museum in London

Growing vegetables was Lucas’ first love. He explains what first attracted him about this type of gardening: From about the age of about 10, I used to help my mum on our allotment and I was nearly expelled from the school because I was always on the allotment instead of in class.

At the age of 15 I left school and started work as an assistant gardener with the National Trust at Bateman’s
— the home of Rudyard Kipling. A year later I began an apprenticeship with the Greater London Council parks department.

Lucas says he was influenced by many of the people he?met within the horticulture industry, particularly by their dedication, knowledge and passion.
He says he’s faced some difficult tasks over the years but one of the most difficult was in 2005 when he worked with the

BBC’s Ground Force team on the British Museum’s African Garden. He says: It was a punishing schedule, but once my back had recovered it became one of my proudest achievements.
I found it intriguing to see the TV gardening world.

At work, his current role is varied. Lucas explains: We are at the very early stages of planning some improvements to the Horniman Museum’s 6.7ha of gardens. My team and I are also continuing work on our new ethno-botanical gardens.

When he’s not working in gardens, Lucas likes to wander down to the Horniman Museum’s new aquarium — the jellyfish are just stunning, and it’s such a tranquil space.

For novices to the industry, or those planning to join, Lucas has only one warning: Beware that you don’t get bitten by the gardening bug – it becomes a total obsession. The pay isn’t great and you work in all sorts of weather con­ditions but I love it.


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