Andy Nel­son

Nat­u­ral plant­ing and a touch of ro­mance are im­por­tant to this free­lance gar­dener who rel­ishes the op­por­tu­ni­ties his work pro­vides for con­stantly learn­ing some­thing new

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Gardening Talent -

POR­TRAIT AN­DREW MONT­GOMERY Ear­li­est gar­den mem­ory Pop­ping fuch­sia buds in my grand­mother’s gar­den as a child. Not a par­tic­u­larly green-fin­gered start. Did you al­ways want to work as a gar­dener? I stud­ied psy­chol­ogy at univer­sity, but I chose gar­den­ing be­cause I wanted a job that was both sat­is­fy­ing and phys­i­cally de­mand­ing. Lit­tle did I know how much of the real joy of gar­den­ing lies in its abil­ity to never stop sur­pris­ing and chal­leng­ing you no mat­ter what your level of knowl­edge or ex­pe­ri­ence. Hor­ti­cul­tural he­roes Peter Den­nis, a gar­dener I worked with when I was try­ing to get into gar­den­ing. He taught me so much in the five years we worked to­gether and was al­ways will­ing to share his ex­pe­ri­ence. Also gar­den de­signer Mary Keen – I love the thought and the sub­tle dy­nam­ics she puts into her gar­dens, as well as the em­pha­sis she places on hav­ing a nar­ra­tive that runs through­out the gar­den. Three worth­while tips You need to be sen­si­tive to both the gar­den and the lo­cal flora in the sur­round­ing area – and also the client you are work­ing for. It’s im­por­tant that you don’t force un­suit­able plant­ing schemes on to a land­scape or mi­cro­cli­mate, or in­deed a per­son. Se­condly, make sure you are clean and tidy around the gar­den. It sounds ob­vi­ous but the abil­ity to make your move­ments un­trace­able at the end of the day makes the over­all im­pres­sion stronger. Thirdly, you need to have a thirst for knowl­edge; to want to understand the plants and prac­tices you are deal­ing with. Not a day goes by when I don’t ac­tively learn some­thing new – and that’s a nice thing in any job. Most valu­able train­ing Be­ing told to fo­cus on the job in hand. It is so easy to walk around a gar­den and find a mil­lion and one jobs you need to do but that is ul­ti­mately a less pro­duc­tive way of work­ing. If you fin­ish one job at a time you’ll find each one is com­pleted to a much higher stan­dard and you get much more work fin­ished over­all. Favourite plant­ing style I pre­fer a free-flow­ing, in­for­mal style, with nat­u­ral plant­ing schemes and a bit of in­ti­macy and ro­mance. Tex­ture and smells are so im­por­tant in help­ing to achieve this. It’s good to be able to touch the plants and be led by the ebb and flow of the gar­den. Favourite gar­den­ing blog I like the web­site thinkingar­ It in­cludes a host of var­ied blogs and ar­ti­cles linked to it. There are some great fea­tures on a wide range of hor­ti­cul­tural sub­jects. Con­tact a-nel­son23@hot­

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