How I got started: Susan Nicholas, lecturer, Welsh College of Horticulture

- How did you break into the industry?

After a career in banking and the birth of my two daughters I took the opportunity to change my career to one that would enable me to spend more time in open spaces.

- Who or what was your inspiration?

The great outdoors. From a very early age I enjoyed climbing and "fell walking". I loved the changing seasons, and the sense of freedom they gave me. I also found the challenges of nature exciting. However, it was my lecturer at college, Dr Richmond Dutton, who introduced me to the wonders of soil and its effects on plant growth.

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

Designing a memorial garden for three young people who died tragically. It made me realise that life can be short and we must make the most of every day.

- What is your advice to novices?

Their motto should be: "I can, I will, I shall." They should follow their dreams and aspirations. As Mark Twain wrote, 20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the things you did.

- How do you relax?

In my busy life I relax with good food and wine, shared with family and like-minded people, preferably in my garden.

- What does the future hold for you?

I have always been involved with young people and my energy goes towards helping them achieve their goals. Through the Percy Thrower Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition and contributions to a group spearheaded by Institute of Horticulture past-president David Miller - Engaging Young Horticulturists - I hope I can contribute to the success of young people within our industry.

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