Me & My Job - Claire Brown, founder, Plantpassion

Claire Brown, founder, Plantpassion - image: Plantpassion
Claire Brown, founder, Plantpassion - image: Plantpassion

- How did you get started?

After doing a degree in electronics I joined a garden retail management traineeship with Homebase, which included block release weeks at Hadlow College. I worked my way to garden centre manager, which I did for five years, then worked for Country Gardens and in the garden centre at RHS Wisley. But I didn't want to work full-time after having my son, which was when I set up Plantpassion. One thing I enjoyed at Wisley was the personal shopping service, but now I take people to different garden centres to find plants that are right for them and their gardens.

- What has been the hardest job you have done?

My first time working on the information desk at Wisley made me realise how much I still had to learn about plants.

- Have you continued learning?

I took the RHS general certificate in my own time and I did a course in advanced garden design drawing at Merrist Wood because some customers like to see your plans before you go ahead with them.

- What advice would you give to others starting out?

There aren't many ways into horticulture for those who have already gone further in education - or at least they're not well signposted. I could have got to where I am from A-levels, but horticulture tends to attract either those at GCSE level or career changers.

- How do you wind down after a hard day's work?

I go home to garden. I grow my own fruit and vegetables and I keep chickens. I am also getting more into taking photographs, some of which I put on my blog.

- What does the future hold?

I love the work that I do here, which is all within 15 minutes' travel, working round my son's schooling, doing what I'm good at and earning money for doing what I love.

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