Managing a Norfolk garden centre’s planteria combines two of Ian Roofe’s work-related passions — dealing with plants and people.
Each day is different, and although his main role is to grow and sell plants, the nature of the small business means he can be required to undertake various types of tasks.
In an average day, Roofe can find himself ordering stock, delegating jobs to staff members, dealing with customer queries, or responding to email orders — as well as ensuring that the planteria runs smoothly.
Roofe is a passionate plantsman — he recently finished second-equal in the Institute of Horticulture’s Young Horticulturist of the Year competition —so it’s no surprise that the highlight of his job is dealing with plants.
Roofe had a six-year stint running his gardening business but found that he missed regular contact with people. I loved working with the garden and doing projects but I wanted to be around people. Those are the two things that make me tick, people and plants, so a garden centre meets both my loves in life.
After completing a degree at Writtle College he spent time lecturing but decided it lacked enough contact with plants. In this job I get to grow the plants and source the plants — a bit like a plant hunter really — but also I have good contact with people who have a common interest in plants.
He’s keen to stay at the garden centre and help develop it, but has dreams of owning his own one day.
While he admits garden retail wages might be lower than those in other professions, he is adamant there are positive trade-offs. It’s a lifestyle move rather than a career move.
While plant knowledge and people skills are important, he believes that time management skills are invaluable. In addition, Roofe says it helps to have maturity, enthusiasm and energy but points out that you’re never too young to do anything in this industry.