Me & My job: Pamela Smith, consultant, Botanical Connections

- How did you break into the industry?

I knew I wanted to go into a land-based industry from about the age of 15. Forestry was my first choice but I eventually went to Askham Bryan college in York to do an NDH in amenity horticulture. It was the right choice.

- Who or what was your inspiration?

I was brought up by the coast in Anglesey and enjoyed discovering the coastal habitats. But in terms of horticulture it was my grandfather, who was a very keen gardener and took me to many gardens in North Wales. However, my school's careers teacher tried to put me off it.

- What's the most difficult job you have ever done?

Physically, it was probably when I was harvesting rosehips and extracting seed during my pre-college year. It was a very uncomfortable job, very itchy - particularly when you have an hour-and-a-half bus ride and half-hour walk at the end of it to get home.

- What is your advice to novices?

I would say that it is a great career and gives you a huge range of skills. I would recommend getting as much practical experience as possible. There are many on-site training opportunities such as the Historic & Botanic Garden Bursary Scheme, but competition is high, and I think in some ways it is harder to get into the industry now. When I graduated from Askham Bryan college, most of us had a job to go to already - usually a horticultural post in local authorities.

- How do you relax?

Time with my family. I love public parks and try to visit one wherever I am. I also love BBC Radio 4 comedies and The Archers.

- What does the future hold for you?

I am enjoying being freelance and am promoting the role of horticulture in urban regeneration and city-sustain-ability projects. I am also going into partnership with a food researcher and writer to encourage plant use and food awareness in cities. To keep in touch with parks I have just completed my Green Flag Award judge training and I am also vice chair of Plant Network - the organisation representing plant collection holders in the UK and Ireland.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Partner Content

Portrait image of the author, Roz Bridges

How to succeed as a garden seller on eBay

Presented by eBay
rows of small potted plants

Know the risks of growing crops cooler

Presented by Fargro

Growing businesses for 50 years – Four Oaks returns

Presented by Four Oaks