Me & My Job - Liz Sims, manager, Vernon Geranium Nursery

Liz Sims, manager, Vernon Geranium Nursery - image: HW
Liz Sims, manager, Vernon Geranium Nursery - image: HW

- How did you get started in the industry?

My parents started the nursery in the 1970s and after their retirement last year and a change in ownership, I am now running the business. I joined 20 years ago and have been hands on growing and expanding it into the largest specialist geranium nursery in Europe. No qualifications - just masses of experience and passion.

- What advice would you give to others starting out?

Think big, keep a level head and follow a sensible path, but always think outside the box. We started in a small greenhouse in the back garden and grew to a 1.6ha site.

- What does your typical day involve?

Every day is different. I'm very involved in searching out new varieties and keeping up to date with the "geranium world". I especially like to discover new varieties from "hobby" gardeners.

- What takes up most of your time?

Putting the catalogues together and making available the best selection.

- What is the best aspect of the job?

Being involved with the plants and getting to know all their different growing habits.

- And the worst?

I can't think of any down sides.

- What is your greatest achievement?

Keeping the collection available through difficult economic times and overcoming upsets such as the boilers failing on a freezing night. Specialist nurseries are struggling in the UK and if we don't look after specialist collections, we'll lose them forever.

- How do you wind down after a hard day?

My three teenage children keep me laughing - and busy.

- What does the future hold?

I'm looking forward to expanding our collection, seeking out the new and keeping it all available in the UK, so that gardeners are able to continue to enjoy geraniums, many of which were introduced in the 1700s.


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