Being the first blog I’ll start with where I am now and how I got here:
In 2003 I applied to my local agricultural college to study Horticulture through an apprenticeship, however due to some miscommunications it came to September and I wasn’t able to begin the course. Not too long later I was working in a plumbers merchants and not long after that I was buying a house with my future wife. Over the years I tried to find ways to get into professional gardening but it never happened, the college stopped offering the course and despite offering some short seasonal courses they always seemed to fit into a timeframe that wouldn’t allow me to fully complete. Not only that, I occasionally searched jobsites but could only find Landscaping jobs where the emphasis was hard landscaping, an area I wasn’t interested in.
However unknown to me (and my local college) in 2003 a local gardener was also setting up his own business – Rob Hodge Horticulture after spending 19 years as the head gardener at Tredegar House, a 17th Century Mansion now owned by The National Trust.
Jump to the summer of 2016 and after two years of being self employed as a heating engineer the novelty of being self employed wore off I found myself once again searching the job sites for more interesting jobs… BANG there it was
Rob Hodge HORTICULTURE
Gardener wanted, ideally with min 1 years experience working in gardens and an interest in plants. This job is NOT A LANDSCAPING JOB. Salary dependent on experience.
Those words “Horticulture”, “Not a Landscaping Job”, after 13 years of looking for such a job near to where I live I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by and applied despite not having any professional experience whatsoever at the higher end of 30! I told Rob my story letting him know how much I enjoyed visiting gardens (often dragging the Mrs and Kids around the likes of St Fagans Museum and Bristol Zoo Gardens) in an email along with my irrelevant CV. I then got on the internet looking for info on RHS courses along with some bitesize courses to brush up on some gardening knowledge to show Rob I was taking the opportunity seriously despite the lack of professional knowledge and experience. First contact was positive then communication went quiet. Usually I would have let it go due to lack of confidence or real care for the job but I wasn’t giving up until he said no. I pestered him on his facebook page and then in September we met up for a chat and two weeks latter I was knocking on his front door for my first day working as a ‘proper’ gardener (insert mega chuffed smiley face)! However the day before I started, I was driving home from a job and a load of smoke was billowing from under the bonnet of my berlingo van, just my luck (insert mega frustrated smiley screaming NOOOO)!
So since September 2016 i’ve been working with Rob through the Autumn and Winter and despite the winter weather I have enjoyed pretty much every minute of it… reducing a 15m long laurel hedge by 3 ft from the top of a ladder can get testing but it could be worse… I could be fitting a boiler!