Tell us about your background? Professional & personal
I come from a strong gardening background on both sides of my family and I have gardened and been encouraged to garden from as far back as I can remember, probably since I could walk! It didn’t even cross my mind though when I was growing up that I might possibly garden for a living. I left school and went into administrative jobs which I really didn’t enjoy and so one Friday afternoon after spending a few hours filing (in the toilets – it was a small office and an expanding company and space was very tight so the filing cabinets were located where space allowed) I decided to see what the local college had to offer in the way of evening classes. I thought I might do a pottery or drawing class, something a bit creative but there on the list was a class in garden design and planting.
I struck gold. My tutor was an inspiration and still continues to be so today, nearly fifteen years later.
If it wasn’t for Wendy Price and the support, both emotional and financial that I received from my parents I would still be working in admin and gardening at the weekends!
What is your proudest achievement?
The first Gold medal I won at The Chelsea Flower Show.
It was then that I began to feel that I knew I could make it work.
Who is your female inspiration?
I come from a family of strong women and grew up with a close knit circle of family friends, many of whom were hugely creative, articulate and ran their own businesses. This somehow must have subconsciously rubbed off on me!
Tell us a bit about your business
I work mainly in London and the South East creating small town gardens and larger country estates. I design gardens specific to client tastes, be that simple and chic or wild and wacky. I try to make it work for each client to provide them with the garden they always dreamed of even if it isn’t what I would personally have. The office is an office of three people each with their own skill set and this works well. We therefore offer a full package, not just a design and can see the project through from paper to final installation.
What made you decide to design fabulous gardens?
Like much of my life I simply stumbled into it and somehow managed to convince people that I could make their gardens lovely.
Now as the business grows I am being asked to design and construct fabulous and unusual things, things I never dreamed that I would or could design and that makes for a very interesting working week.
What is your top tip for starting a business?
Get some good advice, a good bank manager and a good accountant.
Never say you can do something when you know you cant and always be honest. It wont be an easy journey and it will take time and energy and the highs and lows will be pretty extreme until it settles into its own rhythm. This took about five years for me and even now there are days when I feel I know nothing and that the business is running me. I have a great accountant who helps guide me and in these times of credit crunch this help is invaluable. Having also employed people out of extreme necessity in the past I can now select the people I work with carefully and the office runs much more smoothly for it.
What would you like to achieve over the next 12 months?
Another garden at the Chelsea Flower Show would be great and perhaps more than anything a holiday.