Mediterranean garden

Horticultural ‘personal training’ to help you develop your gardening skills

Are you tempted to take up gardening as a hobby, or like the idea of pottering and tending to the garden on a summer’s evening or weekend, but feel you lack the confidence or ability, and don’t know where to start? Perhaps you have a garden that requires some maintenance, but you don’t want to hire a gardener. Garden mentoring could be the answer for you.

For many people who have outdoor space, a garden can feel daunting or even a bit of a burden: a drain on time and resources. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Gardening is a wonderful hobby that can contribute to increased health, wellbeing and quality of life.  Working on your garden is an excellent way to get all-round exercise: 45 minutes of general gardening can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of aerobics, and is a lot more enjoyable!

Nothing can beat the wonder and satisfaction of growing a blooming plant from the tiniest of seed, cooking and eating your own produce or watching your garden develop, mature and thrive. With just a little guidance, a lifetime of discovery awaits you.

How does it work?

Garden maintenance and development plan

The process starts with a site visit where I will chat to you about your objectives, including:

  • what your garden means to you and how you’d like it to develop
  • what your gardening aspirations are
  • how much time you want to spend on your new hobby
  • how frequently you want to meet

I will also survey your existing garden, determine the soil type and pH, identify the plants currently growing there and assess their condition.

I will then provide you with a written report detailing this information, along with recommendations as to what plants to keep, move or dispose of, ideas for improvements and a seasonal plan detailing what needs to be done in terms of maintaining and developing the gardens, and when these activities should be carried out.

Coaching programme

Then, if you’d like to proceed, I will create a tailor-made coaching programme of one-to-one sessions in your garden, which will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to enable you to meet your objectives.

Your programme could be a series of weekly hour-long sessions over a single season, or longer monthly sessions over the course of a year. Whatever your preference, I will create a programme that suits the needs of you and your garden.

My experience

  • Since March 2018, I have worked as a freelance Botanist and Horticultural Advisor for the Royal Horticultural Society
  • I have several years’ experience designing and building gardens and providing horticultural services and advice for private clients.
  • I worked for fifteen years as a curator of the herbaria at Kew Gardens and the Natural History Museum, which has given me a thorough knowledge of a wide variety of plants and their natural habitats (and therefore their growing requirements) and which fuelled my life-long passion for gardening and growing plants.

My qualifications

I have been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture. It is the highest of the three levels of diploma offered by the RHS and is comprised of:

  • RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation
    • Plant taxonomy, structure, and function
    • The root environment, plant nutrition and growing systems
    • The management of plant health
    • Understanding applied plant propagation
  • RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting
    • Understanding garden survey techniques and design principles
    • Understanding the selection and use of landscaping elements in the garden
    • Understanding the setting out and construction of landscaping elements in the garden
    • Understanding a range of specialist elements in the establishment of garden and urban plantings
  • RHS Level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture
    • Collecting and testing soil samples and specifying adjustments for horticulture
    • Collecting, preparing and propagating from seed
    • Establishing and maintaining a range of plant types and forms
    • Identification of a range of common garden plants, weeds, pests, diseases and disorders
    • Management of green spaces, landscaped areas and ornamental gardens

I am based in southeast London, but cover the whole of London.

For more information, please contact me using the form below:

Agapanthus ‘Back in Black’ with Zauschneria californica ‘Dublin’