Me & My Job - Dave Mason, gardener, Reaseheath College

Dave Mason, gardener, Reaseheath College - photo: Reaseheath College
Dave Mason, gardener, Reaseheath College - photo: Reaseheath College

- How do you get into horticulture?

We used to study it at my school for two hours a week. Then when I was 15 I went for an interview at the Cheshire College of Agriculture (now Reaseheath College) and became an apprentice and studied horticulture and groundsmanship for six years. I've been here for 38 years now. (Mason received a long service to agriculture award at the Cheshire Show this year.)

- What takes up most of your time?

Mowing in summer and leaf raking in autumn. We can be doing that from October to January.

- What is a typical day for you?

In summer I can be mowing and edging borders or caring for the lawns by scarifying and killing weeds. In the autumn I will be leaf raking and generally tidying up. We don't have really cold winters up here any more. Now there are only few days when the weather is bad enough that we go inside and work in the nursery.

- What's the best part of your job?

Mowing. The place just looks so much better with a nice tidy lawn.

- What's the worst part of the job?

I don't like hedge cutting. But a contractor is coming in now to do the job with tractors and paddles. It used to take us up to three weeks to do all the hedges and holding the machines all day really makes your arms ache.

- What piece of kit can't you do without?

Our tractors and trailers. We have three mini tractors - a Kubota, Massey Ferguson and even a Lamborghini.

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

I wind down on the cycle home. Then I work in my own garden. I have a greenhouse and a nice lawn.

- What does the future hold for you?

I'm happy here at Reaseheath. Hopefully, the college will go on to bigger and better things.

- What is your advice to novices?

I'd tell them to get on a course and to learn as much as possible at college. As I've got older I've realised that I should have listened more to my teachers when I was studying, but I was a typical teenager.

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