How did you get started in horticulture?
It started as eco-therapy for me. I was referred to Kensington & Chelsea Mind after a hospitalisation and became a trainee gardener. I went on to get my City & Guilds certificate in gardening. Afterwards, I applied for the full-time position of garden and landscape worker at the social enterprise division of Kensington & Chelsea Mind, Many Hands Trading, and got the job.
What does your typical day involve?
It starts with morning coffee and planning the day with my line manager in the hut. We have a number of maintenance contracts such as at St Charles Hospital and Kensington Roof Gardens, which are our bread and butter. So there is plenty of gardening work such as ground preparation, weeding, planting and watering. Once a week we sell plants at a stall at the Portobello Market.
What takes up most of your time?
On-site gardening eats up a lot of time.
Do you get out of the office enough?
Absolutely. I am outdoors as much as possible. Most of our time is spent gardening - there's very little time in the office.
What is the best part of your job?
Working together with colleagues towards a common purpose.
And the worst?
Litter-picking, dog messes and medical waste in the environment.
What piece of equipment can't you do without?
High-visibility foul-weather gear.
How do you wind down after a day's work?
With tea and biscuits.
What does the future hold?
The future looks bright. In this job I have the opportunity to learn lots more about gardening.