Me & My Job - Ben Jones, head gardener, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth Collection

Ben Jones, head gardener, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth Collection - image: The Swiss Garden
Ben Jones, head gardener, Swiss Garden Shuttleworth Collection - image: The Swiss Garden

How did you get started in the industry? Two weeks’ work experience at Cambridge Botanical Garden gave me the drive to continue working in horticulture.

What advice would you give to others starting out? It is vital to explore the industry and try to find a niche that you feel you will be successful in. If you manage to gain any work experience, always keep them as a close contact — you never know what other jobs may arise. Make learning fun, practice what you are good at and keep working on it.

What does your typical day involve? We have safety and tidy inspections every morning before visitors arrive. Depending on the weather and events, every day is different.

What is the best aspect of your job? Watching how the garden changes. Being outdoors all day allows you to see the seasons change and how nature adapts to it. It’s beautiful.

And the worst? The weather. Some days in the winter are bitterly cold.

What have you been working on recently? I am still rather new to the Swiss Garden so I still have a lot of learning to do. I have a love for the history of Regency gardens and how they came about, so I am just continuing my research at the moment.

What has been your biggest achievement at work? Working on gardens in the Mediterranean. I was a garden manager working for an independent client. The one-to-one interaction helped me to learn how to work in different climates.

What does the future hold for the industry? The industry has a lot of knowledge and passion and it is advertised much more than it used to be. Drives such as the RHS Campaign for School Gardening teaching children about horticulture get more kids involved and passionate about gardening.

How do you unwind after a hard day at work? I like to go running or coach at the running club I am part of.


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