How did you get started in the industry? I was studying to be a charted surveyor at Cirencester but found it was not for me so I did some work experience for a tree surgeon instead. I left my university course and spent the next five-and-a-half years studying horticulture at various colleges.
What advice would you give to others starting out? Spend as much time learning as you can. Horticulture is a huge subject and there are a surprising number of people in the industry with far too little knowledge of the trade. Stand out from the crowd.
What does your typical day involve? I often visit a site before I do anything else. It is very important to make sure the staff are clear on what they are meant to be doing — if they make a mistake it is my fault. After that I go to Ginkgo Garden headquarters in Victoria to make sure our invoices are in order and make appointments. Afternoons consist of meetings and discussions with managers, looking at works schedules and planning upcoming projects.
What is the best aspect of your job? Diversity and working with great people. I love that my job involves carrying out truly satisfying work and that the business develops and grows every year.
And the worst? Fungus.
What have you been working on recently? A Berkeley Homes project and a big planting scheme for Regency Apartments.
What has been your biggest achievement at work? Survival. Also winning contracts with Peabody Estates and Origin Housing.
What does the future hold for the industry? New legislation is getting rid of unregulated contractors. We are becoming a better regulated industry with a lot more professional people carrying out a better quality of work.
How do you unwind after a hard day at work? A glass of whiskey and a good book.