John Myers, head gardener at Fairlight Hall, went from the corporate world to starting his own gardening business. He trained for three years at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew specialising in glasshouse horticulture. He took on his current role last year. “My job includes many different aspects from organising the day-to-day running of the garden and managing the gardening team, making plans for the future of the garden, training staff, seasonal tasks, giving talks and taking garden tours, planning for events and administration to name just a few,” he says. “I really enjoy working with interesting plants there is always something new to learn and there is never a dull moment. “Anyone thinking about a career in horticulture should do some research on which area of horticulture you’d like to work in, get some work experience or volunteer, and get your qualifications, RHS Level Two qualification or equivalent are a good start. I believe you need to be passionate about the area of horticulture you want to work in. Skills, good plant knowledge and experience will follow.
“Whenever I look at someone’s CV I like to see someone who is proactive; productive with the right kind of qualifications and knowledge.
“At Fairlight Hall I have started an apprenticeship for those looking for a career in horticulture. Our apprentice goes to college one day a week to gain their qualifications, but also gains a well rounded horticulture knowledge and experience. We also take on up to two Work and Retrain As a Gardener Scheme [WRAGS] trainees annually. I have started a volunteers’ scheme, our volunteers help us enormously, as well as gaining valuable experience, basic training and a reference if they need one when applying for horticultural jobs.”