Me & My job - John Parkin, landscape gardener, Eden Garden Services

- How did you get started?

After 15 years as a finance director and close to a 25-year "office" career in total, I caused a stir by handing in my notice and going to horticultural college at Kirkley Hall in Northumberland. After achieving an NVQ Level 3 double distinction grade in horticulture, I started my own gardening business.

- What does your typical day involve?

I turn my hand to a very wide scope of work from garden maintenance to complete overhauls. With a variety of clients and gardens from "postage stamps" to areas covering 0.8ha, I keep busy juggling clients. I could be doing anything from weeding, tree pruning, hedge and lawn-cutting to designing a new garden, erecting fences, laying a patio or installing a water feature.

- What is the best part of your job?

I enjoy garden transformation work. I have several clients I have visited on a weekly basis and revamped their "jungle" into a garden to be proud of. I take great satisfaction from seeing the end results of such work, and happy clients make all the hard work worthwhile.

- And the worst?

Dealing with the vagaries of the British weather. I can usually use very wet days to source supplies for jobs (fencing/plants) but motivation can wane a little during occasional longer spells of inclement weather.

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

My Stihl machinery makes life easier, including a multi-angle long-reach hedgecutter, chainsaw and leaf blower.

- How do you wind down?

In my spare time I work on my own garden and my plant collection has become very diverse. Family life largely makes up the balance of my spare time. I also plan to spend two weeks on St Kilda on a conservation volunteering holiday. I love outdoor life and could never return to the office.


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