Me & my job: Penny Fryer, general manager, Boningale Nurseries

How did you break into the industry?

I did an environmental science degree at Plymouth and then moved back to the Midlands. I realised that I wanted an active, outdoor job. Commercial horticulture appealed to me because of the "thrust of production" - it's satisfying to see the crops grow. I joined Bransford Garden Plants in 1986 and worked my way up to production manager. I've now moved to Boningale.

What's a typical day for you?

I get in before 8am and I usually finish around 5.30pm. I catch up with the propagation and container managers at least once a day to discuss work progress, crop walk or chat over ideas. The crop walking involves walking the field looking at the plants in their beds, checking whether they've put on enough growth and for pests and diseases. The rest of my time is spent on scheduling and planning, unless someone is away and I am needed to replace them on production.

What takes up most of your time?

As I am relatively new to the company I'm concentrating on getting to know how it operates. I am also learning what our customers are looking for, as this will help me to plan for next year's production and development.

Do you get out of the office enough?

Yes, I'm outside most of the time.

What's the best thing part of your job?

Exploring solutions to practical problems with the other managers and staff.

And the worst?

Unreliable seasons.

What piece of kit can't you do without?

The task manager in Microsoft Outlook helps me stay on track.

How do you wind down?

I listen to the radio on the way home from work.

What does the future hold?

I am enthusiastic about the future. We are planning improvements in our range and facilities, including building new tunnels and increasing our production in larger pots. We also hope to improve our irrigation system.


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