The Graduate Gardeners who topped off their 40th year in style

Gradate Gardeners celebrated 40 years in business this year - and topped it off with winning four BALI Awards and one Principal BALI Award.

The whole company, 25 people in all, attended the awards in Grosvenor House on 5 December, along with Graduate Gardeners’ founder Philip Howard.

"I’m proud of how well they’ve done. Back in 1974 landscaping was still very much in its infancy. I looked in the Yellow Pages when I started and there were four in Gloucester – now there are 14 pages. It’s grown hugely," he said.

He said that things had changed greatly for business owners. "I think companies have more things to deal with now, especially regarding health and safety.  I didn’t slack on those things but I didn’t have to go into the regulations."

Called the company Graduate Gardeners because he was, in fact, a graduate – of Oxford University, where he got a degree in Geography.

"In those days for a graduate to start building gardens for people was a bit curious which is why friends suggested it. Originally I thought it sounded a bit toffee-nosed but it’s proved to be a good name."

Managing director Charles Price, who took over the business in 2003, said that winning the BALI Awards - including the top award in the domestic garden construction over £250,000 category - had been "a fabulous day for the company".

"The over £250,000 category was really competitive, it was quite something to come out on top of them all."

He added:  "We’re doing well, the market is very strong, house building is buoyant, there are lots of opportunities in roof gardens, in London particularly. I think 2015 will be another busy year."

The company turned over £9,000 in 1945 and £2.5 million this year.


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