Profile Waitrose Chronicle 23/01/2016
How did you start out in your working life?
- I have been very fortunate in that I was interested in growing plants from an early age. After a Horticulture Course I obtained a position in the Propagation Department of the world renowned Hillier Nursery.
- What does your role at Leckford entail?
I started at Leckford in 1997 as the Propagator and took on the responsibility as The Custodian of the National Collection of Buddleja in 2004.
I semi-retired in 2010 and now have more time to promote this international collection; for the past 18 months I have been compiling and funding a web site www.buddlejacollection.com listing all of the Buddleja in the collection with hundreds of stunning photos.
Away from the Buddleja collection I have just finished pruning the Kiwi climber by the nursery shop and other climbing plants on the walls.
I propagate rare plants for customers if they are unattainable from our suppliers.
I have also given talks on Buddleja and developing new plants is another of my passions.
In February, I’m giving a talk on “The Intricacies of Plant Breeding” to Test Valley U3A.
- What is your favourite thing about working with plants ?
I enjoy passing on my knowledge so that others may be as enthusiastic in their love for plants as I am, and hopefully in time they may be able to pass their knowledge onto others.
- What’s the latest innovation or idea that excites you the most
I bred a new Antirrhinum in 2015 and more are being trialled at this moment.
- What advice would you give to someone starting out in plant breeding?
Have plenty of patience and do not give up easily; only a small percentage of the plants which you breed are marketed but having a plant showcased at Chelsea Flower Show more than compensates.
- What’s next for you, personally/any plans for the future?
When the Chronicle telephoned I was listing all the hybrids crosses I made last year; I now have 50 packets of seed to sow covering six different genera. For the future hopefully another ‘Longstock introduction’.