LOOKING AHEAD HOS LANDSCAPES
STAFF & TRAINING S P E C IA L
LET’S HEAR IT FROM
RHS CHELSEA 2021 PREVIEW
Tony Benger, Tony Benger Landscaping
A UK Landscape Barometer special on staffing
What does an autumnal Chelsea have in store?
How are they tackling the skills shortage?
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W E LCO M E The skills gap isn’t the only topic up for discussion in our September issue, an edition we’ve dedicated to staff and training. We ask, for instance, if formal training should be needed before people can label themselves as a garden designer and we explore extra-curricular training outside of a person’s job description. As well as being the start of the academic year, this September also marks the return of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. For the first time in its history, the event will be taking place in the autumn and, although this has thrown up numerous challenges, it is being hailed by those taking part as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In her column this month, Sue Biggs alludes to this being just the start of an exciting calendar for the RHS after what has been a turbulent – and costly – year for the organisation. We’re thrilled Chelsea is back and we’re looking forward to seeing how the gardens have been adapted for the season. We hope to see many of you there!
WE’RE THRILLED CHELSEA IS BACK AND WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING HOW THE GARDENS HAVE BEEN ADAPTED FOR THE SEASON
©Harris Bugg Studio
he skills gap is nothing new – we’ve been talking about it as an industry for years now. So, after all that time, what steps have we taken towards closing that gap? It’s been a multipronged approach. From attracting new people into the industry to upskilling those already working within it, trade associations, companies and individuals have been trialling new ideas and initiatives. One company, Urban Landscape Design, took measures into its own hands and set up The Landscape Academy, which has recently become a Lantra approved training provider. Managing director Mark Youde wanted to offer training which met the needs of the industry today, but also to raise standards and, perhaps ultimately, improve the perception of the industry to those on the outside looking in. Another, Tony Benger Landscaping, scooped Supreme Winner and two other accolades at the Pro Landscaper Business Awards this year, a sweep which recognised how invested the company is in its people, spending time and money on training its staff to the point where it now has an internal trainer.
THE M&G GARDEN: DESIGNED BY HARRIS BUGG STUDIO, CONTRACTOR: CROCUS, SPONSOR: M&G
Leader Nina.indd 3
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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UK Landscape Barometer Industry feedback and statistics for June Staff and Recruitment A closer look at recruitment stats Outlook Remains Rosy Neil Edwards
08 13 14 19 24 30 32 34 35 4
News Our monthly roundup of industry news News Extra The Landscape Academy Pro Landscaper Business Awards Coverage Coverage from this year’s event Let’s Hear it From Tony Benger Landscaping Inside HOS Landscapes 30 Under 30 Update Jack Wannell View From the Top Sue Biggs Making the Heart Sing Andrew Wilson Bread, Blood and Booze Christopher Martin
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
INSPIRE 49 52 56 60 63 66 68 69 70 74 75 77
Hilltop Hideaway Frogheath Landscapes Sloping Success Catherine Clancy Garden Design Ahead of the Curve NAO Landscapes Landscape Architect’s Journal Land Studio Garden Storage Anji Connell Life/Style Tessa Johnstone Making Spaces Woodscape Street Furniture Suppliers analyse material options Feature Garden MMCite UK Covering All Areas Stuart Dantzic, Caribbean Blinds Fire Pits Six recent innovative releases RHS Chelsea Flower Show Special
SEPTEMBER 2021 NURTURE 93 97 98 99 100 102 103
Feature Garden One Garden Brighton Selling the Sector to Students Nick Coslett Controlling the Conflict Keith Sacre
E D U C AT E
The Problem with Plants Noel Kingsbury
Company Profile Bourne Amenity Unnatural Nature? Lewis Normand Bark and Mulch Latest products
108 109 111 112 114 117 120 123 126 130
Making the Most of Team Meetings Nick Ruddle Social Media Savvy Oracle Solicitors
Stepping Up Gareth Wilson Happiness = Profit Alison Warner SEPTEMBER 2O21
On the Verge of Change Angus Lindsay
LOOKING AHEAD HOS LANDSCAPES
Company Profile Fresh Horticultural Careers Training Academies What’s on offer, and why? Garden Design Training Questioning qualifications Extra-curricular Training Taking staff to the next level Materials Focus Composite decking Little Interviews Questions with the individuals who make up our industry
STAFF & TRAINING SPE CIA L
LET’S HEAR IT FROM
RHS CHELSEA 2021 PREVIEW
Tony Benger, Tony Benger Landscaping
A UK Landscape Barometer special on staffing
What does an autumnal Chelsea have in store?
How are they tackling the skills shortage?
To receive a copy of Pro Landscaper, please contact Jake Collett. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01903 777 570.
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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CO N T R I B U TO R S Sue Biggs Sue Biggs reflects on what has been a comeback year for the RHS. After delays and cancellations last year, 2021 has already seen the return of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, the completion of RHS Hilltop and the organisations’ fifth garden open its doors. And there’s more to come.
W W W.RHS.ORG.UK
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A standardised client brief leads to standardised gardens, so we should be wary of checklists for putting together a client brief, says Andrew Wilson. The best advice for the initial client consultation is to listen to the client and observe the garden, otherwise you’ll end up with a shopping list of products to fill the space.
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Christopher Martin There’s nothing quite like a marketplace to bring a city to life and add to its character. Christopher Martin reflects on some of the most memorable and influential urban markets across the globe and reminds us of why they are essential.
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Anji Connell is encouraging creativity and forward planning when it comes to garden storage. Most gardens need it, regardless of size, and there are a few tips and tricks for making it a stylish addition. From coastal beach huts to contemporary laser-cut panelling to carefully considered follies, there are plenty of options.
W W W.ANJICONNELLINTERIORDESIGN.COM Design – Kara Thomas, Kirsty Turek
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Cover photograph: ©HOS Landscapes Rooftop Garden for Richard Miers, Kensington
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
NEWS LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE APPOINTS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
he Landscape Institute (LI) has announced the appointment of its new permanent chief executive, Sue Morgan. Sue joins the LI from Design Council, where she oversaw the expansion and growth of a diverse portfolio of projects and programmes – first as director of architecture and the built environment, then executive director, and finally as interim CEO. Sue brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to her new role. Her 25-year-plus career in the built environment, urban renewal and placemaking includes the delivery of the National Design Guide, High Streets Task Force, Home of 2030, and work with major infrastructure clients such as Network Rail and Highways England. Prior to joining Design Council, Sue has worked as CEO of Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust, founder of placemaking consultancy Around the Block Ltd, and a landscape architect and further education lecturer. She is also a director of the Parks Alliance, a Civic
Trust Buildings and Landscape Awards Assessor, and has judged a number of prestigious awards. Sue says: “My priorities as chief executive will be upholding the LI’s values and mission, delivering our existing corporate strategy, and shaping a bold new strategy for 2023 onwards – not least to foster enthusiasm and support from a new and diverse generation of landscape professionals, whose skills have never been more important for our wellbeing, economy, and planetary health.” www.landscapeinstitute.org
MITIE TO BOOST BIODIVERSITY BY BECOMING PLANTLIFE CORPORATE PATRON
itie Landscapes has become a Corporate Patron of British conservation charity, Plantlife, as part of its commitment to help support biodiversity across the UK. Mitie is Plantlife’s first patron in the facilities management industry. Mitie will be working with Plantlife to support its evidence-based approach to conservation. This will include sharing Plantlife’s conservation and biodiversity best practice with Mitie’s clients, as well as trialling techniques and equipment that will encourage more wildflowers and pollinators to flourish. Mitie’s Landscapes team will also be able to access training and resources to learn about how they can further support biodiversity in their day-to-day roles. The partnership is part of Mitie’s Plan Zero commitment to become net zero carbon for its operational emissions by 2025, with one of the organisation’s key commitments being to ‘Improve biodiversity at all of our sites using initiatives that help ecosystems flourish’. Tim Howell, managing director (landscapes), Mitie, says: “With three quarters of the world’s food crops depending on pollinators, supporting biodiversity is no longer ‘a nice to have’ when it comes to sustainability. We must all do more to create environments that support these vital insects, flowers, plants and other wildlife. We’re proud to be working with Plantlife to bring its evidence-based approach to help Mitie and our clients support conservation.” www.mitie.com
COUNTRYWIDE APPOINTS NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
ountrywide Grounds Maintenance, one of the UK’s largest grounds maintenance companies, has welcomed Phil Rogers as its new business development manager. Phil has 25 years of experience in the grounds maintenance industry and will oversee operations across Northern England and Scotland.
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
Phil expressed his delight to be joining Countrywide, which has been operating for more than 30 years, and praised the organisation as the “best place to be”. He says: “We want to continue to grow our presence across the UK, allowing us to serve more customers and develop local employment to benefit local economies.
Directly employing local people is key to our success; they take pride in their community and have an invested interest to provide a great service. Taking pride in work, developing local employment and bettering the community is close to my heart, and that’s what we want to achieve here.” www.countrywidegrounds.com
NEW RESEARCH SET TO UNLOCK NATURE MYSTERIES AND TACKLE BIODIVERSITY CRISIS
£2m project, funded by Natural Environment Research Council, aims to reverse habitat loss and the degradation of land caused by agricultural intensification, urban development, climate change and pollution. It will look at how these ecosystems knit together through complex individual processes like nutrient cycling, carbon capture and pollination – rather than simply looking at the presence and number of particular species. This is an innovative approach to understanding ecosystem processes and will have major implications for ecological restoration target-setting. The research is due to get underway at over 100 meadow and woodland sites, currently in the process of being restored, across the country including the Knepp Estate, South Downs and Stonehenge landscape as well as at heavily degraded landscapes such as mining and quarry sites and intensively farmed agricultural land.
The partnership project is led by Cranfield University including the National Trust, Stirling University, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) and Forest Research. Professor Jim Harris of Cranfield University, lead principal investigator for the project, says: “Improving our ability to restore functional ecosystems is crucial to ensuring we restore nature and achieve net gain in line with government plans. “We are trying to understand how the nuts, bolts and cogs of the ecosystems that we are interested in reassemble and function, and whether this can be done quickly – or whether we need a lot of patience with Mother Nature.” www.cranfield.ac.uk
PEATLAND TURNED INTO ‘GIANT SPONGE’ WITH 3,500 POOLS TO ABSORB CARBON
moorland plateau near Manchester has been transformed into a ‘giant sponge’ after conservationists built thousands of peat bunds to tackle the effects of climate change. Aerial photos reveal almost 3,500 low, scallop-shaped banks of peat – which allow water to pool behind them – spread across the landscape at Holcombe Moor in the West Pennines. The National Trust together with Moors for the Future Partnership, Natural England and the Holcombe Moor Commoners’ Association, spent six months creating the bunds as part of plans to improve the condition of the peat. Work also involved building 403 stone dams and 308 peat dams to further slow the flow of rainwater running off the plateau and planting half a million
sphagnum moss plugs to create boggier habitats and hold moisture in the soil. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Peatland restoration at Holcombe Moor is a shining example of innovative action being taken across the country to lock up carbon, store water and provide a home for wildlife. “Ensuring peatlands in the West Pennines are healthy is important not just for local people and wildlife but also in reaching Net Zero by 2050, which is why we supported the Moor Carbon project with funding over the past three years. Protecting habitats like this is at the heart of the government’s peat action plan, which aims to restore at least 35,000 hectares of peatland by the end of this parliament.” www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Online Exclusives FORM PLANTS AND TORC POTS COLLAB AT RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW A unique collaboration between Form Plants and Torc Pots at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will mark the first time either have appeared in the floral marquee at Chelsea. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ form-plants-and-torc-pots-collabat-rhs-chelsea-flower-show
PRO LANDSCAPER’S 10 TH ANNIVERSARY: AN INTERVIEW WITH JIM & LISA WILKINSON Pro Landscaper is celebrating its 10th anniversary and owners Jim and Lisa Wilkinson discuss its biggest achievements so far, the standout moments, and what the magazine will be doing next. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ pro-landscapers-10th-anniversary-aninterview-with-jim-wilkinson
CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT FALLS FOR THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE MONTH According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), construction in the UK fell by 1.3% in June, and this was the largest monthly decline since December 2020 when output fell by 2.2%. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ construction-output-falls-for-the-thirdmonth-consecutive-month
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION TO BE LAUNCHED FOR PICCADILLY AREA
ike many other Chelsea designers and contractors faced with the news that the event would be moving from May to September, the first challenge we tackled was the creation of a new autumnal planting plan. It’s a rare opportunity to work with a different seasonal palette at Chelsea and one that the nurseries and designers have really thrown themselves into.
For The Florence Nightingale Garden, Robert Myers has chosen to replace the shady woodland garden planned for last year’s show with an autumn garden that has more open space and drifts of lateflowering perennials, grasses and bulbs. The planting will be calm, green and textured, with colour accents including white, cream and purple, while in the sunnier spots there will be flashes of
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
News Chelsea diary.indd 10
anchester City Council is set to launch an international design competition for the Piccadilly area. Urban design and landscape teams will be invited to participate, with an estimated budget of £25m. The Piccadilly area covers a 10-acre site which also takes in Mosley Street and New York Street, Parker Street, the section of Portland Street which Piccadilly Gardens runs alongside and the section of Piccadilly which runs alongside the Gardens. Its prominent gateway location means that it serves a unique range of functions including as a major route through the city centre, a transport interchange, a space for markets and events, a meeting place and a green space to spend time. Work will continue to develop a detailed design brief ahead of expressions of interest being invited in autumn this year from urban design and landscape teams who want to
take part in the competition. Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The Piccadilly area has the potential to become an outstanding open space in the heart of Manchester, befitting the city’s international status. “We recognise that it needs to be transformed to ensure that it can realise its potential as a welcoming and flexible space. We want to create a place that people are talking about for all the right reasons. “The publication of this notice is an important step closer to this aspiration and underlines the ambition we have for the area – ambition we know that Manchester people share. “We will of course be seeking further views from the public later down the line once we have a successful scheme to put to them.” www.manchester.gov.uk
Chelsea Diary DAN RIDDLESTON, MD, BOWLES & WYER
vibrant colour from pink asters and dark purple dahlias. The original garden design also used many medicinal plants that would have been used in Florence Nightingale’s time, as well as plants that feature in her childhood pressed flower collection. These will still appear throughout the garden, and will include Chinese rhubarb, witch hazel and ferns. Robert has also included the Foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea) in his planting palette as it was Florence Nightingale’s favourite plant, and an important herbal medicine for treating heart conditions. By September, the Foxglove will have finished flowering, but the seed heads will provide important vertical punctuation in the planting. We have been working with Mark Straver at Hortus Loci on the herbaceous stock for the garden and he has developed an interesting strategy to ensure the garden will be flourishing for the show. Most of the plants chosen would continue flowering well into September, were they already planted and established in a garden setting. However, in nursery pots they are very likely to have finished flowering by this time, so, the team at Hortus Loci has potted up the herbaceous stock and then chopped it right back for regrowth in the firm belief that by the time Chelsea comes around the plants will be at
GARDEN D E TA I L S
Garden The Florence Nightingale Garden Designer Robert Myers Sponsor The Burdett Trust for Nursing
their peak and flowering beautifully. It certainly takes nerves of steel, and great horticultural expertise to have faith that a few emerging shoots will produce award-winning blooms, but we have great confidence in them. I visited the nursery in late July things were looking very promising.
For many visitors, a one-off autumnal Chelsea is an exciting prospect. As Robert said: “It is so exciting to be part of what is likely to be a unique and memorable event in the show’s history. The whole atmosphere will be different, and I am thrilled that we’ll be contributing to that”. I couldn’t agree more, and I’m delighted our sponsor, The Burdett Trust for Nursing, feels the same way.
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THE LANDSCAPE ACADEMY BECOMES A LANTRA AWARDS APPROVED TRAINING PROVIDER WE SPEAK TO DIRECTOR MARK YOUDE ABOUT WHAT BECOMING A LANTRA AWARDS APPROVED TRAINING PROVIDER MEANS FOR THE LANDSCAPE ACADEMY
he landscape industry has seen a growth in the market over recent years, and whilst the pandemic has brought a number of difficulties to our industry, the interest in gardens, green spaces and landscaping has shifted to a different level.
With growth comes the need for more people to accommodate the rise. What we are finding now is a shortage of skilled individuals to manage the demand. “There has been less money invested and many landscaping institutes have diminished,” explains Mark Youde, director of The Landscape Academy. “Individuals and businesses have very few options to turn to in terms of training, and many of the courses available do not meet the requirements of today’s landscape industry.” The Landscape Academy is aiming to fill that void, providing a one-stop training centre, dedicated to raising standards in the industry. “We are delighted to announce The Landscape Academy is now a Lantra Awards Approved Training Provider with several of our courses Lantra Awards Accredited,” Mark tells us. “It now means our Learners taking our Lantra Awards Accredited Courses from September, will be awarded with a recognised landscape industry certification, helping individuals and businesses implement the appropriate training.” Lantra Awards are an awarding body who develop and certify specialist training and qualifications for land based and environmental industries. Lantra’s qualifications are fully regulated and have equivalent status to those offered by other awarding bodies such as City & Guilds. Their nationally recognised courses and first-class training materials are
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developed by industry experts who know their subject inside out. Lantra’s training materials and workbooks are recognised as some of the best in the business, ensuring learners walk away with the knowledge and confidence they need to progress effectively and safely in their careers. “The Lantra Awards accreditation is testament to our dedication to provide the industry with a full range of comprehensive and relevant courses, helping us to help others raise the standards within the industry,” Mark tells us.
THE LANTRA AWARDS ACCREDITATION IS TESTAMENT TO OUR DEDICATION TO PROVIDE THE INDUSTRY WITH A FULL RANGE OF COMPREHENSIVE AND RELEVANT COURSES “We believe training is an investment in your future, whether as an individual or a business,” he continues. “As a business, you’re only as good as your employees, so having an effective and knowledgeable team in place can be make or break. Training your team is more than just
ticking a box, they need to know that you are invested in them as individuals and support their need for growth allowing them to flourish. When staff feel valued and motivated, and work in an environment that fosters training and
development, you’ll successfully build a reliable team of experts, which in turn leads to successful projects, and happy clients.” As a Lantra Awards Approved Training Centre, The Landscape Academy provide specific industry courses or offer businesses and groups bespoke training courses specific to theirs and their team’s needs. “Dedication, research and development is invested into all our courses, ensuring our industry specific programmes are delivered effectively to the Learner and are relevant to today’s market, meeting the compliance and knowledge needed to ensure successful growth of someone’s business or personal development.” “When our Learners come to The Landscape Academy, we want them to feel comfortable.
Many are hesitant from having had bad experiences at school, but we have worked hard to ensure we are providing courses that are informative and engaging. Our trainers are excellent at guiding Learners through the courses, and connect with them as individuals, drawing on their own personal experiences and issues they have come across,” he continues. “We have had a great response from Learners who have trained with us, and the feedback we’ve received on our courses enables us to make sure we are getting the right training to those who want it. Whilst it’s been a difficult year with the restrictions, we are so thankful to the landscape community for the help and support we have received and we are really looking forward to the next few years, with lots more in the pipeline.”
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 13
THE PRO L ANDSCAPER BUSINESS AWARDS 2021
The winners have been revealed for the Pro Landscaper Business Awards 2021. These awards bring together the landscaping community for an afternoon of celebrating the excellent standards set within the industry. The Pro Landscaper Business Awards are the only industry awards which focus on how well companies run their business. Profitability, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, commitment to the landscaping sector, and client/supplier relationships are all areas reviewed in identifying the shortlist and, ultimately, the overall winners. Fifteen awards were presented at the fourth annual ceremony which took place at East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, on Friday 30 July. Tong Benger Landscaping was revealed as the Supreme Winner, after scooping two awards throughout the day – Design & Build Company and Employer of the Year. “The judges felt this company was a shining example of an excellent, well-run business built on very strong foundations. After 30 years of trading, and despite considerable expansion in recent years, Tony Benger Landscaping has held on tight to its inclusive culture and family feel…A great company, a great year and a great future – and a truly well-deserved accolade. Well done to all at Tony Benger Landscaping, Pro Landscaper’s Supreme Winner this year,” commented Marian Barker, owner of Fresh Horticultural Careers, headline sponsor of the Pro Landscaper Business Awards.
Re-flow @reflow247 Well done @tblandscapes on sweeping the @ProLandscaperUK Business Awards on Friday. What a big night, winning three awards, including Supreme Winner. It’s great to see one of our earliest clients recognised for their success. Congratulations Team Benger!
TRADE NURSERY OF THE YEAR: W CROWDERS & SONS LTD
GROUNDS MAINTENANCE COMPANY: GLENDALE SERVICES
“Amazing event; hats off to all the team. Thoroughly enjoyed it. And so, so good to get back to
Go to www.prolandscaperbusinessawards.com
a real in-person event.”
to register your interest for next year’s awards
Stuart Dantzic, Caribbean Blinds
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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And the winners are… Trade Nursery of the Year Sponsored by: Azets Winner: W Crowders & Sons Ltd Commercial Landscaping Company Sponsored by: Green-tech Winner: Maylim Ltd Grounds Maintenance Company Sponsored by: CORE Landscape Products Winner: Glendale Services Arboriculture Company Sponsored by: Pro Arb Winner: Connick Tree Care Industry Collaboration Sponsored by: Hillier Nurseries Winner: VaRa Garden Design Supplier and Service Provider Sponsored by: FutureScape Winner: Green-tech Landscape Architecture Studio Sponsored by: British Sugar TOPSOIL Winner: ASA Landscape Architects Garden Design Company Sponsored by: CasaTua Winner: Sarah Eberle Landscape & Garden Design
SUPREME WINNER: TONY BENGER LANDSCAPING
Landscapia @landscapia What a brilliant day @ProLandscaperUK yesterday! So proud of our team, winning this amazing award. So nice to meet so many other great businesses, with the same passion for garden design and landscaping. Well done to all the winners and shortlisters.
ARBORICULTURE COMPANY: CONNICK TREE CARE
Design and Build Company Sponsored by: Rolawn Winner: Tony Benger Landscaping Landscaping Company Under £1m Sponsored by: Caribbean Blinds Winner: Landscapia Ltd Landscaping Company £1m-£5m Sponsored by: GreenBlue Urban Winner: Acre Landcapes Limited Landscaping Company Over £5m Sponsored by: Glendale Services Winner: Mitie Group Plc Employer of the Year Sponsored by: Fresh Horticultural Careers Winner: Tony Benger Landscaping Sustainable Company of the Year Sponsored by: Bourne Amenity Winner: Ground Control
LANDSCAPING COMPANY UNDER £1M: LANDSCAPIA LTD
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Supreme Winner Sponsored by: Fresh Horticultural Careers Winner: Tony Benger Landscaping
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 15
LANDSCAPING COMPANY OVER £5M: MITIE GROUP PLC
HOST, JONNIE IRWIN
Nilufer Danis @NiluferDanis
Thank you to @ProLandscaperUK for the fabulous Pro Landscaper Business Awards ceremony despite all the challenges this year! It was lovely to see friends and thanks to @CrowdersNursery for the great table and congratulations for the best trade nursery award.
T H E P RO L ANDSCA P ER BUSINESS AWARDS 2021
INDUSTRY COLLABORATION: VARA GARDEN DESIGN
COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING COMPANY: MAYLIM LTD
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR: TONY BENGER LANDSCAPING
Bourne Amenity @Bourne_Amenity
SUSTAINABLE COMPANY OF THE YEAR: GROUND CONTROL
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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Congratulations to @GroundControlGC for winning our sponsored category, the ‘Sustainable Company of the Year’ award. Great to see everyone who attended, it was a special event bringing the industry together again. Thank you to @ProLandscaperUK for making it possible!
DESIGN AND BUILD COMPANY: TONY BENGER LANDSCAPING
Green-tech @Greentechltd #TeamGT were proud to win the Supplier and Service Provider Category at the @ProLandscaperUK Business Awards! The accolade is a fantastic one that we were delighted to win. Congratulations to all other award winners!
GARDEN DESIGN COMPANY: SARAH EBERLE LANDSCAPE & GARDEN DESIGN
Congratulations to all of you for putting on another successful event. We had a great time and it was so lovely to all be back together again!”
Clare Morgan, CasaTua
SUPPLIER AND SERVICE PROVIDER: GREEN-TECH
Acre Landscapes @acrelandscapes Very proud of our team and thank you very much @ProLandscaperUK for a brilliant event!
Photographs ©Steve Burden
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE STUDIO: ASA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS
LANDSCAPING COMPANY £1M-£5M: ACRE LANDSCAPES LIMITED
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Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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Let ’s Hear it From
TONY BENGER TONY BENGER LANDSCAPING
SCOOPING UP NOT ONE BUT THREE PRO LANDSCAPER BUSINESS AWARDS INCLUDING THE PRESTIGIOUS SUPREME WINNER, TONY BENGER LANDSCAPING STRIVES TO BE A GREAT PLACE TO WORK. WE SPEAK TO MANAGING DIRECTOR TONY BENGER ABOUT HOW IT ACHIEVES THIS BY INVESTING IN ITS PEOPLE
ony Benger Landscaping – A Great Place to Work. It’s a simple motto, but on 30 July at the Pro Landscaper Business Awards, Tony Benger Landscaping demonstrated the merit behind its motto when it scooped up three awards including Supreme Winner. “When running a multifaceted business, it is easy to mainly focus on daily challenges and problem solving. Significant milestones such as winning a national award (not to mention three this year!) enable one to stop and reflect on the team’s achievements and evaluate how far we have come by going the extra mile,” explains Tony. “I am pleased we had 10 employees attending
out of whom just one was a senior management member – I am proud we can demonstrate respect amongst the hard grafters from the UK landscaping experts,” he continues. “Our success is directly attributable to unconditional dedication to the industry, tireless communication on the best horticultural practices and a healthy learning culture for our staff. This proves we are on the right track for a sustainable and exciting business future for all and provides an extra boost of motivation.” Despite the company’s enormous success, it’s a job which Tony hadn’t necessarily envisioned himself in from the get-go. But after 10 years of farming, he needed a career change.
Though he had a slightly unsuccessful two weeks working with his mum planting up gardens, something stuck – and in spite of the rocky start, over the following years Tony subcontracted to his mum and his mum subcontracted to him. Since that day back in 1985, the company has grown from one man and a barrow to nearly 100 experienced local staff across three branches. The company hasn’t grown for growth’s sake, though. That initial priority has never changed, still seeking to produce
1 Formal garden in Devon
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high-quality landscaping and promote a friendly and rewarding company culture. “I’m very proud that as the business expanded, we managed to maintain an inclusive family feel for all and now have three generations involved,” Tony tells us. Tony’s sister Penny heads the designers’ team, whereas his daughter Olivia now runs the commercial team. Her fiancé Mark oversees fencing work and Tony’s nephew runs the maintenance department while his wife Charlotte helps manage the commercial team – a true family affair. “I have every confidence that they will continue Tony Benger Landscaping to go from strength to strength along with the rest of the staff, who are the people to thank for all their hard work and attention to detail, bringing the company to where it is today,” explains Tony. Indeed, Tony understands the value of knowledgeable, highly capable and motivated staff for the successes of the company – he also knows that the way to achieve this is through high quality training. Investment in training has grown significantly over the years at Tony Benger Landscaping. The cost of the external training is estimated to be around 1.5% of the company’s turnover, but a more significant amount is spent internally at around 4% to 6%. Internally, the company now employs one full-time trainer, one technical manager and three site supervisors each focusing on upskilling their colleagues. These trainers will visit staff onsite to check quality but also guide them through specialist work. It’s also crucial they work closely with new staff to instil the ‘Tony Benger’ culture and standards. Training doesn’t end as you grow through the ranks
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though; it’s equally important to the team leaders who undertake daily ‘Toolbox Talks’ onsite. Externally, courses range from herbicide application, chainsaw use, trailer driving, tree surgery, horticulture, SSSTS and leadership training, with 100% of its operatives possessing
OUR SUCCESS IS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO UNCONDITIONAL DEDICATION TO THE INDUSTRY, TIRELESS COMMUNICATION ON THE BEST HORTICULTURAL PRACTICES AND A HEALTHY LEARNING CULTURE FOR OUR STAFF a CSCS card. “We pride ourselves on quality, giving customers the best experience we can. Training is the best way we can do this,” explains Tony. “It gives staff the skills they need, be it knowledge, customer service, how to lead a team, and also plain old confidence.”
Tony is cautious, though, that this training doesn’t turn to micromanaging. “When I first started the company, I felt it was easy to fall into the micromanagement trap and treat your less experienced staff as if a parent, but soon I realised this wasn’t really leading us anywhere,” explains Tony. “Now we promote a coaching environment, where managers are asked to adapt their communication based on personality types and focus on open questions in order to empower employees to bring forward their own solutions.” So, appraisals instead foster a “thinking environment”, where managers allow employees to express their own ideas for improvement – on a company level and on a personal one. The outcome of this is a Personal Action Plan, which gives staff specific, measurable, achievable and realistic goals. They also create a timeframe in which they can strive to achieve these. Tony believes everyone has potential; it’s just a case of identifying it and finding how best to work towards it. The perfect example of this was during team leadership training: “We realised our team leaders weren’t really reaping the full benefits during the classroom style leadership training, so we decided to move their training outside – we now run Day in the Woods training activity days which are a great success.” There is perhaps no greater potential than the potential of young talent. Ever since Tony Benger Landscaping was formed, Tony has been employing students from colleges. Among these were Phil, Stan and Callum who still work for the company today. This is no less important now. “The young generation is an important part of the Tony Benger team and in many cases work their way up through the ranks,” notes Tony. “Both apprentices who finished their courses last year are already in Rising Team Leader positions, something specifically developed to provide the perfect steppingstone before becoming a fully-fledged and experienced team leader.” This year, the company has three apprentices. Each apprentice is under the wing of a training manager from day one. This consistent support, along with progress meetings with each apprentice and their tutor, helps to ensure they have the support they need to keep up with their course work.
“What we found to be super useful and inspiring for apprentices, is to rotate them into a new department every six weeks – it gives them a broad-as-possible working experience and helps them to find the field of landscaping that they are the most passionate about,” he shares. “The college courses are great, but they are normally delivered in blocks and if youngsters don’t feel super engaged on that particular subject, it could be daunting, so we feel work rotation helps them to see the light at the end of the tunnel and makes the experience more exciting.” It’s not all about training, though. The wellbeing of Tony’s employees begins at induction, when successful candidates have a conversation with Tony. This not only allows staff to see him as accessible, but also allows him the chance to relay the company’s strong inclusive culture. This is just one part of the extensive wellbeing programme at Tony Benger Landscaping. This year, along with a newly revamped mental health and wellbeing policy, it now has a team of five employees that form its ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors’. It didn’t stop there. The company also has the support of Perennial where staff are able to receive a plethora of support, from financial
advice to physicians to help with injury prevention and treatment. As a partner of Perennial, it is also able to utilise Perennial’s marketing and other expertise to help maximise awareness of mental health and wellbeing across the company. In the near future, Tony Benger Landscaping will be training members of its staff in mental health first aid, along with a host of other subjects to help boost not only the knowledge of those individuals but to further cement the more inclusive ‘good mental health’ culture
within the business. “Demonstrating that business cares about employees on a personal level helps boost staff retention rates,” explains Tony. “A healthy work-life balance can improve engagement levels, and as a result it increases productivity and performance. Workplace burnouts are completely preventable and once we are not overburdened, we tend to concentrate better on the task at hand, make fewer mistakes and represent the brand in a more passionate way.” Not only does Tony Benger Landscaping have an open-door policy for employees to
MANAGERS ARE ASKED TO ADAPT THEIR COMMUNICATION BASED ON PERSONALITY TYPES AND FOCUS ON OPEN QUESTIONS IN ORDER TO EMPOWER EMPLOYEES TO BRING FORWARD THEIR OWN SOLUTIONS discuss anything pressing, but it also has designated break areas, groups for staff social chat and also runs various social initiatives. These include a yearly summer event –
2 The Tony Benger Landscaping management team. Photo ©Eleanor Jones 3 Langmoor and Lister gardens, Lyme Regis 4 New bespoke stone walling with water feature 5 Wildflower meadows at Cranbrook, near Exeter 6 BALI award-winning terraced garden in Devon
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 21
which has in the past featured kayaking, clay pigeon shooting and zip-lines, Christmas quizzes and raffles, and the company even encourages staff to go for a walk, run or make use of its swimming pool during break times.
Recognition is also hugely important for staff wellbeing. When the company achieves a national award, Tony always invites the relevant ground staff to the event rather than focusing on senior management. Long service is rewarded with an extra holiday day every three years and its first 30-year service employee received a write up in its newsletter and website, a watch of his choice, golden badge signwriting on his van and an evening of drinks and snacks. Employee of the month competitions also allow the company to reward hard work and dedication. Even with all this, Tony isn’t done just yet. “We are always looking at ways to expand and diversify the things that we can deliver to our customers, so we have invested in a MEWP and the training that goes with it,” he explains. “We feel it’s important to actively search for training that can improve staff, the company and health and safety. We also like to organise professionals to come in and share their expertise with our
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staff to be upskilled, in horticulture, pruning, bricklaying, rendering and more.” Alongside this, the company is arranging a course for its team leaders to improve their leadership skills, deal with problems onsite and how to get the best out of their team members. Elsewhere, the future looks towards expansion. Investment back into the business coupled with funding from an EU Rural Development Grant has enabled the company to move into its brand-new, purpose-built office and yard which has room for further expansion and company growth. Its Okehampton branch
DEMONSTRATING THAT BUSINESS CARES ABOUT EMPLOYEES ON A PERSONAL LEVEL HELPS BOOST STAFF RETENTION RATES has grown exponentially, consequently winning the business more and more sites in West Devon. The company has also recently had a few sites in the north of Bristol area which is typically quite competitive. What’s more, after a huge customer demand, Tony Benger Landscaping has begun to offer fencing commercially. “Not only does this offer a one-stop-shop for our clients but having landscaping and fencing under one umbrella facilitates better scheduling onsite and far fewer remedials or counter-charging,” explains Tony. “This is a hugely positive step forward for the commercial department.”
It’s perhaps due to the roots of Tony Benger Landscaping’s strapline that it’s been able to flourish. From its conception, Tony embedded this into his business: “All we needed to do is do a good job.” For its customers, this means being professional and responsive from first enquiry. For its staff, it means empowering and equipping them to work successfully by investing in them. If the awards, training and wellbeing programme, apprenticeship scheme and continued growth are anything to go by, it’s safe to say it’s doing more than a good job. 7 Multi-level patio, planting and matching walling 8 Public gardens in Dorset 9 Bishops Court housing development meadows
C O N TA C T Tony Benger Landscaping Dalwood Hill Nursery, Burrow Knap Way Dalwood, Axminster, EX13 7ES Tel 01404 831 844 Email email@example.com
QUALITY LANDSCAPING SUPPLIES DELIVERED NATIONWIDE www.sure-green.com
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HOS LANDSCAPES HOS LANDSCAPES IS ALREADY MAKING A NAME FOR ITSELF, BUT AFTER SIX YEARS, MANAGING DIRECTOR BEN STEIN IS EAGER TO TAKE THE LONDON-BASED CONTRACTOR TO THE NEXT LEVEL
OS Landscapes is gearing up for change. Managing director Ben Stein has kickstarted a plan for growth, bringing in a new co-director to help decide the future ambitions of the six-year-old company in a smart and sustainable fashion. While some of these plans might still be in their formative stages, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all talk – once Ben sets his mind to something, he’s apt to achieve it.
BEN STEIN Ben first set up HOS Landscapes in 2015. He’d been working in the city as a music promoter and artist manager but felt the pull to work outdoors, having grown up “looking out onto the marsh on the north Norfolk coast”. With a garden designer for a mother, it might
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come as a surprise that Ben didn’t venture into horticulture sooner – he’d always had an interest in plants and wildlife. But he resisted this career path, instead going to study anthropology at Durham University, which boasts one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK. “I then found myself in London, working at some great and varied jobs, but I was always on a laptop and always working for other people,” says Ben. “Then I realised I had this amazing set of skills that I could call upon in working with my mum initially – she could fill in any of the gaps in my skill base and plant knowledge.” So, he founded his own garden maintenance company with a friend, taking on local jobs around Haringey. “We were originally called The Relentless Gardeners, but this was rather self-fulfilling, so we renamed the business HOS Landscapes; HOS is short for Hooton, Oza and Stein, the names of my nearest and dearest.” This wasn’t the only change. As the company grew, the need to offer a hard landscaping service became apparent to the point that the company now solely offers landscape construction. “We’ve found that by concentrating on build we are able to specialise in this. There are plenty of maintenance specialists out there and we put clients in touch with them all the time. Never say never, but for now, I think it would muddy the water and be a distraction to offer maintenance again. We’d
rather continue to get better and justify our position in the industry from a build perspective.” This switch to construction was largely possible thanks to a growing team with a variety
of skillsets, says Ben. “Every new person that came to join the company was better than my co-founder and me, so we were only ever getting better and going in the right direction as we brought people on board. Without a good team with complementary skills, you’re not going anywhere. Not every person who’s joined the team has come from landscaping; some are from construction or boat building, for instance. All bring their own unique approach to situations and to projects. I’d never rule out anybody from a different background because, ultimately, I’m from a different background.” From two friends carrying out maintenance, HOS Landscapes has grown to three main teams of three, operating under site foremen and with
two skilled operatives for more specialised work. HOS Landscapes also works with a professional quantity surveyor to provide more accurate and detailed estimations. It continues to be based in the London Borough of Haringey, in Tottenham, but its teams operate across London and have started to venture further afield, recently completing projects in Cambridgeshire and Broxbourne. There is a plethora of challenges to being a London-centric company, though. “It forces your hand to be a better project manager. If you’re not, you get severe delays, and it’s even more difficult now with COVID-19 and Brexit – the supply chain is not as robust as it once was. It used to be next-day delivery at 9am but now it could be the following week or two, so we need to be smart and have lots of backup plans.” Companies also need to keep ahead of ever-changing policies, such as the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) from 25 October. “We have five vehicles in our fleet and each new vehicle needed to be purchased with ULEZ in mind. I understand the importance of
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clean air, so I support ULEZ, but you have to find time to keep your ear to the ground for these changes. It can be hard when you’re managing
IF WE CAN GROW IN A SENSIBLE WAY AND MAKE THE PROJECTS EASIER TO COMPLETE THEN WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A BETTER TEAM FOR IT AND WE’RE GOING TO PRODUCE BETTER RESULTS TOO three or four jobs concurrently as well as future jobs, staff, training and HR.” One of the biggest supports for HOS Landscapes, though – not just for updates but also for technical advice – has been BALI. The
company went through the application process as soon as it was eligible to apply, just over two years after it was founded. “Anyone just starting out should be looking to get accredited from one of the two big member organisations as soon as they can because it’s really important – you get support when you need it. I’ve called up BALI for technical help on certain projects and, even though we’ve not had to use it, they also offer conflict resolution services. “It’s been pretty massive for us; it’s unlocked the door to different designers wanting to work for us – they see BALI as a sign of quality.” Rather than reaching out to designers initially, Ben says designers approached HOS Landscapes, thanks to its BALI membership,
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Rooftop Garden for Richard Miers, Kensington Progress on a project ©Ella Brolly Hackney Walk for Savills Astrantia ©Ella Brolly Care Home for Catherine Cochrane, Barnet Nursery Project, Julie Mountain, Newham
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Instagram posts and word-of-mouth recommendations. It has now gone from initially building 90% of its own designed gardens to 90% of its work being carried out for somebody else, be it garden designer, developer or landscape architect. This is a huge shift for the company since it was founded, and there are more changes to come, with Ben eager for HOS Landscapes to
ANYONE JUST STARTING OUT SHOULD BE LOOKING TO GET ACCREDITED FROM ONE OF THE TWO BIG MEMBER ORGANISATIONS AS SOON AS THEY CAN stand out from the crowd. “We are BALI accredited and we’ve won a few awards, but at the level we are now working, it doesn’t necessarily set us apart. Our competitors can make the same claims. The best judge of your attributes is your clients; they have fed back that it’s our level of care and attention to detail that stands us apart from other organisations
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– they feel cared for. We take each job seriously throughout. We are uncompromising in our approach and firmly believe that we are only as good as our last job. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels.” Far from resting on its laurels, HOS Landscapes has brought on board co-director Barny Rockford to manage the next phase of the company’s growth. “Barny’s not from a horticulture or landscaping background, which I think is going to play to our strengths and be advantageous,” explains Ben. “He’s questioning everything we do and trying to make it simpler and more robust for it to be effective. He used to manage Camden Market, for example, and found that the more straightforward systems are, the easier they are for everybody to pick it up. So, I could go on a six-month sabbatical, for instance, and the company could still thrive. “We’re not going to grow for growth’s sake, though; we’re going to grow in a sustainable way that is going to benefit the quality of output, but also for the team to go away at the end of the day feeling accomplished and experience joy in what they’re doing. So, if we can grow in a sensible way and make the projects easier to complete then we’re going to have a better team for it and we’re going to produce better results too.” HOS Landscapes is not just planning on growing sustainably, but also for its projects to
be sustainable, and this is one of Barny’s specialisms. It already takes seriously the ethical and sustainable sourcing of materials and is mindful of the ecological impact of its building methods, but Ben says sustainability
is also an economical issue. “Will clients pay the appropriate increase to enable these processes? What do we do if they won’t? What impact does our company’s working methods and structure have on these issues? What else can we do? This is what we have been asking ourselves.”
Ben explains that the company plans to address these issues holistically – not just through material and method selection, but also through working with the community. HOS Landscapes won the Community and Schools Development category at the BALI National Landscape Award in 2019. Design studio Assemble had invited the contractor to build a new garden on a former staff car park at Totteridge Academy in North London. Picking up the award has since helped HOS Landscapes to take on more community and public realm work, though it remains 80% high-end residential. But both Ben and Barny are keen for the company to become 50% high-end residential work and 50% community and public realm projects. “Barny has those skills and experiences, previously working for various London boroughs, and the feedback from the team was that some of their most enjoyable projects have been those where they’re engaging with the public. We still want to do high-end residential projects, don’t get me wrong – there are some absolutely brilliant and challenging jobs that we’ve done and have coming up in the future. But it’s about having diversity. “Also, the pandemic has highlighted that there are so many people who don’t have access to a garden, so public space is important. How do we make decisions around plant types and materials which are going to be meaningful and resonate with the public? Can they cope in the built environment in higher temperatures and summer droughts? All of these questions are critical, and we want to be
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a part of that. This could be consultancy, it could be design and build, or it could be as we are now, as contractors. But we’re at an exciting stage and it feels like the right time to be implementing changes and thinking about the direction we’re going in.”
OUR AMBITION IS THAT EVERY JOB IS BETTER THAN THE LAST AND I WANT PEOPLE TO LOOK AT OUR WORK AND BE WOWED BY IT AND BY WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE Whilst HOS Landscapes turns to more community and public realm work, it is also keen to engage young people in training opportunities which could progress into other work for the company. “We are a growing organisation, and we have rewarded the right people with internal promotions. At the beginning and as a start-up, we tended to be ad-hoc in our approach to training; it had mainly been around the needs of the business. But as we develop, we are looking to tweak a more formal set of processes that recognise the diverse set of skills needed
to be a great landscaper, project manager or foreman. “We’ve gone from being a start-up to almost being invited to the top table, in terms of the projects that we’re being asked to quote for. We’re no longer a start-up and so we’re reflecting on what we’re good at and perhaps not so good at, but also what we want to be working on, what interests the team, and where we want to position ourselves. Our ambition is that every job is better than the last and I want people to look at our work and be wowed by it and by what we’re trying to achieve.” As Ben says, HOS Landscapes is not resting on its laurels, and neither should those already sitting at the top table. Pull up a chair for this Haringey high-flyer because it’s on its way up. 7 8 9 10 11 12
Atelier Vierkant Pot and Olive, Rooftop Garden for Richard Miers, Kensington Garden for Alan Gardner, Haringey Rammed Earth for HÛT Architecture, Waltham Forest Garden for Jilayne Rickards, Haringey The Yard, HÛT Architecture, Southwark Yorkstone Garden, Barnet
C O N TA C T HOS Landscapes Ltd The Trampery Tottenham, 639 High Road, London, N17 8AA Tel 020 8144 8239 Email email@example.com
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19/08/2021 08:41 10:50 18/08/2021
3 0 U N D E R 3 0 U P DAT E
JACK WANNELL ARBORICULTURAL CONSULTANT JACK WANNELL IS THRIVING AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR OF EMPLOYMENT WITH PLACE SERVICES
ack Wannell didn’t have the easiest start to his role with Place Services, a traded service of Essex County Council. He joined as an arboricultural consultant on 1 March, just before a global pandemic would force the majority of people across the UK to change the way they work. After only two weeks in the office, the difficult decision was made by the business to send all employees away from the office and begin the working from home process. But whilst there were obstacles to overcome as a result of this, Jack says he felt fortunate – he was one of the essential workers who could still leave his home and carry out inspections. Responsible for three districts in total, Jack carries out arboricultural surveys for local schools, country parks, highway structures, provides vital professional guidance on insurance claims on behalf of the council, and responds to enquiries from concerned members of the public about trees in their local area. He started out in the industry as an apprentice, though. “I always wanted to do something outdoors. I did a Countryside Management course at
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Writtle College and that’s where I realised that I wanted to do arboriculture. I didn’t know it existed before then. So, I started doing courses and gaining experience.” Jack now has a Level 2 and 3 in Trees and Timber as well as a Level 4 in Arboriculture. When he was made redundant as a contractor after five years, he took the chance to go into local authority work and joined Kent County Council as a consultant until he found a role closer to home in Essex. The 28-year-old says his practical experience now aids him in his current role.
ONCE YOU EXPLAIN THE BENEFITS OF TREES...MOST PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU HAVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE AREA AT HEART “I did a lot of tree climbing, so I undertook all aspects of tree work from crown reductions to pollarding – you gain a lot of tree knowledge from working practically on trees all year round and with the assistance of further education, achieve a well-rounded view. You can see how they react to a reduction, for instance. There are certain challenges, such as communicating effectively why a tree should remain, despite a complaint from the public. “There are a lot of misconceptions. Once you
explain the benefits of trees and what they do, most people understand that you have the best interests of the area at heart. In most cases, we’d only remove trees if they’re dead, dying, dangerous or causing an actionable nuisance." It’s a learning curve, and Jack is eager to develop his knowledge. He is about to begin a Level 5 foundation degree at Myerscough College in Preston. “The course will enable a more balanced industry perspective by enhancing my theoretical knowledge to equal my practical knowledge after spending six years on the tools and 18 months in consultancy. Despite a challenging start, Jack is showcasing ambition and passion for his consultancy work and is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
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19/08/2021 27/07/2021 10:51 16:12
S U E B I G GS BACK IN BUSINESS
THE RHS HAS ALREADY EXPERIENCED A SUMMER OF SHOWS AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS, AND SUE BIGGS SAYS IT’S NOT OVER YET
THE FLORAL MARQUEE AT RHS FLOWER SHOW TATTON PARK 2021
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themselves and to reunite with many of our friends and partners from across the industry. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who attended and who made the shows such a success, and who coped with the COVID-19 requirements of the events so well.
IT WAS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL TO SEE SO MANY PEOPLE ENJOYING THEMSELVES AND TO REUNITE WITH MANY OF OUR FRIENDS AND PARTNERS FROM ACROSS THE INDUSTRY The show season isn’t over yet, as we’re busy preparing for our first ever autumn RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21 to 26 September). The change of date for the world’s greatest flower show will give us an exciting opportunity to showcase plants that we don’t usually see at Chelsea, but rest assured it will still be the show we all know and love, and a wonderful celebration of horticulture, sustainability and hope. As well as the return of the RHS shows, the last few months have seen the opening of not only our brand-new science building, RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science, at RHS Garden Wisley, but also our fifth garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford. The RHS is committed to ensuring that horticulture is a sustainable industry that represents everyone in our society and is fit for the 21st Century –
these projects, eight years in the planning and making, will help us meet those goals. RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science is home to the UK’s first dedicated horticultural scientific centre of excellence, protecting the future of plants, people and the planet. From preserving water to fighting pollution, the research at Hilltop can help us all become greener gardeners and, alongside initiatives such as our ambition to become 100% peat free by 2025, will help the RHS and the wider industry adapt to tackle climate change. We are particularly thrilled to be able to play our part in educating the next generation of horticulturists, by welcoming school and community groups, apprentices and students to learn more about the importance of plants. At RHS Garden Bridgewater, it was such a joy to have finally opened the doors to our newest RHS Garden in June and we have just welcomed our 100,000th visitor. As our first truly urban garden, RHS Bridgewater is right on the doorstep of many local communities that we’re delighted to be serving, as we build a more varied audience than ever before of all ages and backgrounds. We have a great deal more planned to ensure that all of us in horticulture are doing everything possible to attract the best people to further our fantastic industry and nurture our planet – I cannot wait to share our plans with you soon.
ABOUT SUE BIGGS Sue Biggs joined the RHS as director general in 2010 with 30 years’ experience in the leisure industry. She has led changes to make the RHS more inclusive and forward-thinking, including a £160m investment programme. Sue was made a CBE in 2017 for services to the environment and horticulture.
Sue Biggs portrait ©RHS/Anna McCarthy
s summer merges into autumn and the colours start to change, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy this fleeting moment between seasons and, for the RHS, between shows! Despite the challenges of the last 18 months, much of the horticulture industry has experienced a phenomenal boom throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the RHS we have seen the impact of so many new gardeners celebrating the great outdoors and the importance of gardening for physical and mental wellbeing. Our membership has grown, and to know this country now has 30 million gardeners is truly heart-warming. We were delighted to be able to welcome so many people, experienced gardeners and new converts alike, to the RHS shows this July. RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival was our first show since 2019, closely followed by RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, and both were a fantastic reminder of how much our industry means to all our visitors, staff, volunteers, growers, designers, contractors, exhibitors, and everyone who plays a part. It was absolutely wonderful to see so many people enjoying
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ANDREW WILSON MAKING THE HEART SING
ANDREW WILSON CONSIDERS WHAT MAKES GARDEN DESIGN SUCH A BRILLIANT CAREER CHOICE
ometimes, as with any career, there are times when things become mundane or repetitive and garden design is no different. Checking a plant schedule or a bill of quantities are not generally the reasons that people come into this field. They are certainly important, but they don’t make the heart sing. I was reminded of this the other day when I joined Gavin for a site visit in Sussex. The weather for one played the game with bright sunshine playing over the rolling landscape of the High Weald and distant views to catch the eye as we aimed to carry out our site analysis and drink in the atmosphere of the place.
afterwards, I was reminded of students who often ask whether I could give them a checklist to standardise client briefing – new students beware. I always say no. A checklist delivers a tick-box response and a standardised way of collecting information – the danger being that the finer points, or
TAKING A BRIEF IS MUCH MORE ABOUT LISTENING, OBSERVING AND REFLECTING AS INFORMATION IS REVEALED From the higher lawn there were views across the rolling landscape. Sloping meadows within the garden were filled with bees and butterflies taking advantage of the drier conditions as we dropped down into the shade of woodland hiding the stream and the odd deer that played in the shaded valley below. We wandered and talked to the clients, taking in this wonderful site as they talked about their aspirations for the place that will become their home. The garden told us everything we needed to know with the bonus that the client wanted to respect and enjoy its character too, rather than imposing too heavily an alien will. Whilst chatting over the site and its brief over a coffee
34 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
Andrew Wilson.indd 34
perhaps the main points, can be easily missed as a result. At this point gardens are in danger of standardisation – something I see far too much of in social media posts. Garden design is also not to be confused with a makeover – an approach that should stay in the world of TV. Too often a brief can become a shopping list. In response to the plea for a list, I suggest that students engage in a conversation with their
clients and similarly interrogate the garden on which they are invited to work, no matter what the size. Taking a brief is much more about listening, observing and reflecting as information is revealed. What are the client’s aspirations, their expectations? How might they imagine the garden and why even have they invited a designer to talk to them and design for them (one of my earliest questions)? Even with a written brief, try reading between the lines or talk further around the subjects raised. These conversations need to be ongoing – a reason that Gavin and I often have a second briefing after our initial presentations. Without this wider view it is all too easy to end up with a shopping list, furnishing a garden with gadgets and gizmos, colour co-ordinated planting, pots and – dare I say it – pergolas. Designers are also in danger of creating something worse than what they started with. It is precisely when we are presented with a stunning piece of landscape as a start point that we need to take stock, thinking more about that lighter touch and a respect for that place and its context. Of course, the garden has to function and work, it has to reflect the personalities of the client, but it also has to sing to the same rhythm and melody of its place. Just listen. Pictured: Meadow and woodland to make the heart sing!
ABOUT ANDREW WILSON Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden design consultant, director of the London College of Garden Design, and an author, writer and lecturer.
C H R I STO P H E R M A RT I N BREAD, BLOOD AND BOOZE
MARKETPLACES CAN CREATE CITY-DEFINING URBAN SPACES, SAYS CHRISTOPHER MARTIN
he realisation that this year I wasn’t going to be afford what has come to mean a summer holiday for me over the years – walking the streets of a city somewhere in the world at all hours, getting under the skin of it, and finding its most enjoyable, most human, and most hedonistic pockets – has filled me with slight melancholy and longing. As a panacea for the pain, I started to think about all the places that have grabbed my attention in recent years, to see if I can instead find what I am looking for closer to home. It didn’t take long to put my finger on what it was I was after. The slightly chaotic, intoxicating, and anachronistic working marketplace in the centre of cities that both feeds and entertains; is a place of serious business and serious release. Marketplaces like the ones I am picturing existed in every city, and the Meatpacking District in NYC tells a common story. Once a thriving, working, playing market, the area started to decline in the 60s as a result of the containerisation of freight; the advent of supermarkets and the development of frozen foods and refrigerated trucks to deliver them. Meat packing remained the principal trade in this area of NYC through the 70s, but as was common to London as well, nightclubs and other
entertainment operations began to enjoy these environments as well. And it is easy to see why – Meatpacking and Smithfield are the perfect places for night-time activities because the
Christopher Martin.indd 35
market culture meant that noise, life and activity was already in place when the clubbers were queueing up, so there existed a strange harmony. London and NYC are unquestionably special places, and hosting the regional market is not the job of every city of course, but it is the experience of an urban market that I am longing for and struggling to find. The Spanish are leading the way in maintaining and nurturing this city centre phenomenon. Every city in Spain has a market hall which is council-owned and are just as key
THE CENTRAL URBAN MARKETPLACE IS HOW WE RECONNECT AND MOVE BACK TO MORE OF AN EQUILIBRIUM BETWEEN PEOPLE, PLACE, FOOD, AND CLIMATE to the identity of the place as the often-adjacent cathedrals and squares. There are great examples elsewhere, but Mercado Central Valencia, Mercato di Rialto, Mercado da Ribeira in Lisbon, Tsukiji in Tokyo, Mahane Yehuda Market, and Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio in Rome are all great examples where the city connects with the food that sustains it, people connect with each other, and the city is bought to life with people socialising, eating what they have bought in the inevitable market bar, and drinking. I am clearly not alone in my desire for these places; Pike Place Market is one of many markets that is now more full with Instagram users than people taking part, and there is a lesson for us all
in the fact that when Barcelona restored the Sant Antoni market in 2018 it looked to discourage gentrification, seeing the market as both social and commercial, critical to local identity. For fading, faded, and falling central markets ©Checubus/Shutterstock.com around the UK, it would be great if we can collectively recognise that the continuity of food markets in central urban locations is a critical component of culture and identity, but also health and happiness. The balance between cities and the landscape that feeds us is growing further apart, and this impacts everything from logistics to our mental state and levels of stress. Throughout history, people were more connected to the landscape and to food; the central urban marketplace is how we reconnect and move back to more of an equilibrium between people, place, food, and climate. The slightly chaotic, intoxicating, and anachronistic working marketplace in the centre of a city is essential – it feeds us all.
A BOU T C H RISTOP HER MARTIN Christopher is an influential urban designer and planner working all over the globe to help communities improve their public spaces; as well as supporting cities and governments to develop strategy, change policies, and make great places possible. He is co-founder and director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement; a trustee of the UK charity for everyday walking – Living Streets; vice chair of the UK Urban Design Group; and is a member of the United Nations Planning and Climate Action Group.
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 35
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n this issue of the UK Landscaper Barometer, we are focused on the trading month of June 2021. This has been a long and anticipated month to say the least, and many were left disappointed when the lifting of lockdown was further delayed until July. Nonetheless, demand is still very high across the industry, and businesses are remaining busy. Concern has been circulating for a number of months now regarding the material shortage, and this has stretched to affect staff and project levels. One respondent said: “I have not been able to accept new work as I have so much work already. I have added this information to my website, and just this alone will probably reduce my already high number of enquiries.” The price of containers is said to be growing, and work is being delayed even further by a lack of drivers. Many are feeling quite fearful for what could be to come in the winter as respondents expect that the material and staff shortage will continue to have a significant impact on business. If you would like the full report or would like to contribute to the UK Landscape Barometer moving forward, please send an email to Gemma Lloyd on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01903 777 594. Please note that all statistics are based on those surveyed and compare June 2021 to June 2020.
PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS MORE CONFIDENT COMPARED TO LAST MONTH 100%
80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30%
Higher No response
UK Landscape Barometer (2).indd 39
Confidence fell for the third month in a row, now standing at 31%. This could be a result of the material shortage causing difficulty in the industry. The number of those working on more projects increased to 60%, and 78% experienced an increase in enquiries. Conversion rates saw 59% of respondents reporting increases, and just under half (47%) were seeing increased staff levels.
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 39
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
80% 100% Lower
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING
40 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
UK Landscape Barometer (2).indd 40
80% 100% No response
Confidence has decreased for the
A dominant 100% of respondents were feeling more confident, and 100% were also experiencing an increase in quotes. However, turnover displayed a fall compared to last month’s data, with 33% seeing a decrease. This may not be too surprising due to the high demand wiping out stock. One participant said: “Stock numbers are starting to catch up after the huge demand in spring. However, shortages will carry on throughout Europe until at least June next year. We could be in for a difficult trading winter and spring.”
in a row
Turnover increased by
SOIL Things appear to be very evenly spread across turnover and quotes for soil suppliers, with just 50% experiencing increases across both areas. But it is positive to see that 100% of respondents are still feeling more confident, despite the current difficulties regarding stock availability for the sector. One participant said: “The market seems buoyant at the moment, with plenty going on!”
UK Landscape Barometer (2).indd 41
Conversion rates rose
GREATEST INCREASE IN TURNOVER was seen by garden designers, increasing by 203%
Quotes increased by
46% 28% 30% 30% Turnover for commercial landscapers increased by
Enquiries rose by
National turnover increased by
for nurseries National projects increased by
69% Enquiries for design and build companies rose by
Turnover for design and build companies rose by
Projects for commercial landscapers increased by
TURNOVER in Scotland and the North INCREASED BY 120% on average Garden designers saw an average increase of
The South saw an increase of
25% 51% Projects in the Midlands rose by
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 41
STAFF RECRUITMENT SPECIAL
hings have been difficult over the past year, and a lot has changed in the industry job market as many battle the staff shortage. We know just how important and valuable it is to hire the right employees, but what is the recruitment process like in 2021? What does the market look like currently regarding employment? We asked the industry, and here’s what they think.
WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF STAFF WHO HAVE JOINED IN 2020? 5%
HAS RECRUITING STAFF BECOME MORE DIFFICULT IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS?
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO THE PREVIOUS YEAR?
A dominant 74% of participants have had 6-10 members of staff join their company in 2020.
It is positive to see that 32% of respondents have experienced an increase in staff during 2020, especially given the ongoing shortage of staff which has been a very prominent issue through the pandemic.
HOW DO YOU RECRUIT STAFF? 83% Yes
The vast majority (83%) stated that they have found recruiting staff to be more difficult in the last five years, with many commenting that it is “significantly” more so. One participant commented that “it is hard to find people trained in what we do, and who have the relevant skills and software knowledge”. One business that had made recent hires said: “There seems to be a greater number of [skilled] people looking to move jobs at present.”
Figures were very spread, with the majority (30%) using job boards as their go-to source. Social media also proved to be very popular (23%), as did recruitment agencies (17%). This could be due to their ability to target more specific candidates. Adverts presented the lowest result – this could be due to companies having more success with more personal approaches.
WHAT TRAINING DO YOU PROVIDE?
Problem solving skills Mental health
Social media Word of mouth
WHAT ARE THE THREE TOP QUALITIES YOU LOOK FOR IN A CANDIDATE?
HOW MANY STAFF DO YOU EMPLOY IN THE COMPANY?
Team work Other
16% 1-5 21-30
Most respondents (31%) employ 1-5 members of staff. The rest were an even split at 16% each, except for 31-40 at 5%.
42 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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It’s clear, teamwork is the most desired quality (67%), perhaps because it can encompass a variety of skills. Self-motivation (62%) was also important to employers. The ‘other’ quality consisted of respondents looking for candidates with a good attitude towards work.
Workplace safety was the most popular form of training provided (76%), which could be due to it being crucial in jobs where more specialist equipment is involved. ‘Other’ (53%) consisted of respondents searching for trade, landscaping or industry skills in their recruitment process.
ENT ER YOU RSE L F
O R A COL L E AGUE
Entering Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation is a great way to gain recognition for your own work and career progression or that of someone you know. Previous winners have expressed that winning the award is a wonderful way to enhance their career. The rules are simple, you can nominate yourself or a colleague as long as the nominee was aged 30 or under on 1 January 2021 and currently works within the horticulture, arboriculture, garden design or landscape sector. Entrants must have worked in the industry for at least one year. Closing date: 13 September 2021
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TELL US ABOUT THE
CONTRACTS YOU’VE WON!
For our next issue, we’re asking landscaping companies to tell us about the commercial contracts they have won from April to June 2021. Hearing from you not only give us the chance to showcase some of the amazing upcoming projects on the drawing board, but also helps us to determine the buoyancy of the sector.
We want to know: • How many commercial contracts you have won over that three-month period • The value of each of these contracts • The clients who have awarded each of these contracts • The duration of the contracts – what’s the completion date? • The contract itself – what is the project and where? • A little bit about what the contract involves
If you’re a commercial landscaper who’s interested in appearing in our brand-new feature, get in touch! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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OUTLOOK REMAINS ROSY A WORSENING SHORTAGE OF BOTH MATERIALS AND SKILLED LABOUR HAS AGAIN FAILED TO DAMPEN SPIRITS IN THE UK CONSTRUCTION SECTOR. NEIL EDWARDS LOOKS OVER YET ANOTHER POSITIVE SET OF MONTHLY FIGURES
he industry is short of materials and short of skilled labour. New equipment is increasingly hard to come by, and the spectre of inflation lurks just out of sight as wages for bricklayers and HGV drivers continue to rise. And there are reports that some materials have risen more than 70% since the start of the year. Yet the UK construction has greeted all these challenges in the same way that it greeted Brexit and a global pandemic – with a shrug of its collective shoulders and its foot pressed hard on the accelerator pedal. As the month drew to a close, the BCLive league table of new construction contract awards stood at £5.78bn with 344 individual companies winning work during the period. This compares favourably with July 2020 when 268 individual companies pushed the monthly total to £5.52bn. In a month in which 14 companies reported contract wins of £100m or more, TSL Projects – part of the Tonroe Group – scaled to the top of the BCLive league table for the first time, buoyed by a £350m contract for a new manufacturing facility on the former Celanese site in Derby. Making a welcome return to the upper echelons of the BCLive league table after a brief absence is Laing O’Rourke, which also bagged a brace of new contract awards during July 2021. The largest of these is a newbuild mixed-use development at Timber
Neil Edwards.indd 45
Square on London’s Bankside. Valued at £195m, the new development comprises almost 35,000m2 of space with the lion’s share of it to be occupied by offices. Client Landsec requires around 90% of the existing building to be retained while using a hybrid steel frame and timber structure to minimise demolition waste and embodied carbon.
LANDSCAPING PROFESSIONALS WILL ALSO BE EYEING A £202M CONTRACT TO BUILD A NEW EMBASSY FOR THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA Landscaping professionals will also be eyeing a £202m contract to build a new embassy for the People’s Republic of China that has been awarded to Chinese-based contractor BCEGI Construction (UK) Ltd. Located at Royal Mint Court in London, that project will involve the refurbishment and repair of the Grade II-listed Johnson Smirke building, partial demolition and remodelling of the Grade II-listed Seaman’s Registry, and alterations to both Murray House and Dexter House. Predictably, housebuilding continues to carry the sector, delivering 171 new contract awards valued at a combined £1.59bn. Offices enjoyed a good month (56 new contract
awards worth a combined £973m) while the education sector contributed a further £519m. Regionally, London retained its crown, delivering 111 new contract awards valued at a combined £1.69bn. The Midlands once again enjoyed an upbeat month with the East and West Midlands picking up £592m and £401m respectively. The North West region reported 34 new contract awards worth a combined £498m while Yorkshire (£482m) and East Anglia (£405m) also experienced a welcome uptick. However, both Scotland (£269m) and Wales (£57m) continue to lag behind. Although ongoing concerns over international travel mean that fewer people will be heading for sunnier climes in August, construction industry workers can take a well-deserved summer break, safe in the knowledge that the industry remains in rude health.
A B O U T N E I L E DWA R D S Neil Edwards is CEO of Builder’s Conference, the construction industry’s leading trade body. It provides its members to sales leads and market intelligence, as well as statistical data and networking opportunities. BCLive is a real-time league table of construction contract award activity. Operated by the Builders’ Conference, the BCLive league table monitors more than 6,000 new contract awards each year with a combined value of over £80bn. www.buildersconference.co.uk
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 45
#designthenation whitfield gardens, london
photos by Mike Massaro
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1 Seating area created to enjoy the view 2 Grasses and palms planted for movement
Portfolio 1 Frogheath Landscapes.indd 49
ocated on the south coast, this property had been recently renovated to a high standard, and the client felt the garden was an ‘eye sore’ and needed to reflect the modernised property. The garden was located on a very steep slope running up from the house and was visible from all the windows at the back of the building. The client had previously installed a summerhouse at the top of the garden and needed access up the slope from the house. The previous owners had in the past put in some DIY steps and a tiny patio. But the unattractive concrete retaining wall dominated the view from the house.
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 49
Client brief The clients wanted to create a space that was safe for family and friends of all ages – including their elderly parents. Importantly, they wanted a new, much larger terrace for entertaining and dining, easily accessible from the house, taking in the stunning views. The client had seen previous work designed by Tina Vallis and built by Frogheath Landscapes of a clifftop garden that incorporated decking, platforms and steps to break the garden up into different areas and wanted a similar design. They did not require a lawn as they had grass and lawn space at the front of the house, but were keen to encourage wildlife so wanted to incorporate a pond. As the garden was located on a steep slope it benefited from far reaching views which the client wanted to enjoy whilst also respecting the privacy of their neighbours, so some screening was important.
Design and build The garden design incorporated levels in order to build the garden up from the bank at the back of the house. Each level created different spaces, for entertaining, relaxing and a private enclosed space for a hot tub. In order for the client to access the top of the garden using suitably shallow steps, the route was terraced across the garden and up steps in different ways to make the journey more interesting. Using decking from Roundwood of Mayfield for the platforms, steps and ramps to access each level and steel mesh frames to create screening and privacy the garden became a multifunctional area. The terracing created raised planting beds so the existing chalky soil could be improved to allow a slightly wider range of plants to flourish. The planting was designed to soften the hard landscaping, create screening from the neighbours without blocking the view over the Downs and to attract wildlife. Movement was also important so grasses were planted in swathes. The original concrete retaining wall was replaced with a ‘living wall’ effect of Erigeron karvinskianus, jasmine and other climbers to create a closely knit planting viewed from the downstairs of the house. Screening was created with Muehlenbeckia complexa grown up the screen mesh screens,
50 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
Portfolio 1 Frogheath Landscapes.indd 50
plus groups of bamboo, Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla ‘Eva’, Nandina domestica and cordylines. Salvias, penstemons, Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandaise’, Anemanthele lessoniana and Rosmarinus officinalis provided ground cover and lots of colour – strong reds, blues, pale yellows and many tones of green. Challenges The garden was located on a very steep hill behind the main house with poorly constructed steps as the main access. A steep ramp into the back garden had to be created to allow access for materials and machinery before any work could commence on the project. Moving lots of materials into and out of the garden was always going to be a challenge so the design was carefully worked out to minimise this. 3 4 5 6 7
Salvia Caradonna and Salvia hot lips Metal work creating structure and an enclosed area Wildlife pond to attract wildlife View down the sloped garden Salvia Caradonna
A B O U T F RO G H E AT H L A N DS CA P ES Frogheath Landscapes is a garden design and build company with over 30 years’ experience. Frogheath has won multiple awards for its gardens at RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court, as well as from the Association of Professional Landscapers. Landscaping is at the forefront of all garden designs, but it also pairs this with planting design to achieve impressive gardens.
REFERENCES Contractor Frogheath Landscapes www.frogheath.co.uk Garden designer Tina Vallis MSGD www.tinavallis.co.uk Fencing and posts Home Leigh www.homeleighgroup.co.uk Decking and handrails Roundwood of Mayfield www.roundwood.com
LOOKING UP THE GARDEN
Plants, hedging and trees English Woodlands www.ewburrownursery.co.uk Perennial planting How Green Nursery www.howgreennursery.co.uk Building supplies Jewson www.jewson.co.uk
CONSTRUCTION OF THE LIVING WALL
THE UPPER TERRACES
Stock netting Stuart Foord Fencing www.stuartfoordfencing.co.uk Waste transfer PJ Skips www.pj-skips.co.uk Welding fabrication, mesh panels Kevin Wells Welding & Fabrication
VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THE GARDEN
Portfolio 1 Frogheath Landscapes.indd 51
PLANTING OF THE LIVING WALL
Stainless steel wire and rope balustrade G.S Products www.gsproducts.co.uk
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 51
S LO P I N G
SUCCESS B L AC K H E AT H T E R R AC E D G A R D E N CAT H E R I N E C L A N CY G A R D E N D E S I G N A N O L D - FA S H I O N E D L O N D O N T O W N G A R D E N , W I T H L I M I T E D U S A B L E S PA C E F O R T H E C L I E N T S ’ Y O U N G CHILDREN, REQUIRED A COMPLETE REDESIGN TO M A K E T H E S PA C E F U N C T I O N A L A G A I N
ong, thin, sloping, with shrubs to the side and a path down the middle; this London town garden was old fashioned with little useable space. Having refurbished the house, a small extension to the back now meant floor to ceiling sliding doors gave the clients vast views of their garden. This, combined with the fact it had been used as a building site during the home renovation, meant the clients had started to think about what could be done with the garden.
52 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £24,950 Build time 4 months Size of project 150m2 Awards Pro Landscaper small project BIG IMPACT Awards 2019, Design Under £25,000 Shortlist
Client brief First and foremost, Catherine Clancy Garden Design’s clients wanted a garden the whole family could enjoy, which would make the best use of the space given its steeply sloping and narrow form. A garden for the whole family for these clients meant a real lawn area as big as possible, an outside kitchen with a gas BBQ and ring to make risotto as well as a bed for herbs, a seating area directly outside the house for morning coffee, a swing set and cosy seating area at the bottom of the garden, mood lighting, decking and a water feature. The clients also wanted to disguise the garage at the end of the garden, whilst keeping easy, safe access to it from the garden. Contemporary in design, the garden was to be in keeping with the interior of the newly refurbished home; blue, white, purple and yellow flowers were to bring the space to life. The old magnolia tree also needed to be kept. Design and build With approximately a 2.6m drop over 20m from the level of the house floor to the bottom of the garden, some might have shied away from the challenge. Catherine Clancy embraced it, using the shape to her advantage, splitting it into different zones.
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These zones, or terraces, each have a different function. The BBQ area immediately outside the kitchen door and the built-in seating area were kept as small as possible to maximise the lawn, but at the same time provide enough space to entertain. Lower down, maximising the green lawn area was crucial for the children to play on, but also in improving the air pollution
1 2 3 4 5
View from first floor, the roof terrace Agapanthus, foxgloves, salvias and euonymus Outside kitchen with herb planters Terraced seating area and sleeper raised planter Cosy decked seating area
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within the garden, due to the property’s location being close to a main road and motorway. At the bottom of the garden, planning permission had been granted to convert the garage into a garden studio and garage, but there wasn’t enough budget for both, so it was decided just to landscape the garden and make the most of the deck seating area outside. Slatted fencing was used to give privacy without compromising on light and without accentuating the long, thin garden shape. A water blade feature was also installed adjacent to the seating area, further assisting in minimising the traffic noise. ThermaWood decking complemented the wooden floor inside the house and also echoed the wooden fascia of the school to the rear of the garden. Softwood sleepers were used to create the raised planters providing a much softer look than rendered raised beds and a comfier seating experience. The paint colours selected for the sleepers reflect the interior style and echo fence colours used in neighbours’ gardens. The blue/grey paint also complements the dark blue part of the exterior of the school behind the garden. The light at night gives the garden a great atmosphere; festoon lights hang from the magnolia tree, wall lights on the fencing and step lights draw the clients to the seating area in the evening.
tricky to do as the terrace levels needed to be worked around the tree. The large, mature laurel tree at the end of the garden was retained due to its value as a screening tree. Challenges For a garden of this size and the features required, making sure it was within the clients’ budget of £25k was challenging for Catherine Clancy Garden Design. After the initial materials quote came back well over budget, both the clients and landscaping team had to rethink costs without compromising the layout, style or design. Rendered walls were replaced with painted softwood sleepers and the expensive bespoke trellis was replaced with softwood or concrete fence posts as required, wooden batons, and painted on site. The client even got involved, 6 Slatted wooden fencing for privacy 7 Clients having a barbecue 8 View of the whole garden from the house
Planting Agapanthus, salvias, foxgloves, geraniums and Euonymus were used for summer colour in keeping with the clients’ desired colour palette. Shade-loving evergreen ferns and hostas were chosen for the bed under the outside kitchen and seat, providing a soft edge to the deck when viewed from the garden and give winter interest. The magnolia tree was incorporated into a bed in one of the terraces, which was
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sourcing beautiful but cost-effective decking. The old garden table was repurposed, its legs painted, and the top covered with leftover decking. The remainder of the decking was used to create a sturdy sofa for the decking area at the end of the garden. The outside kitchen was built using concrete gravel boards slotted into concrete fence posts with an offcut slate kitchen worktop and ceramic tiles.
ABOUT CATHERINE CLANCY Catherine Clancy is a passionate garden designer and RHS qualified horticulturist. Catherine studied garden design at the English Garden School and is a fully registered member of the Society of Garden Designers and British Association of Landscape Industries. Since 2005, she has created high quality, beautifully planted, functional outdoor spaces for clients, focusing on making the most of the garden space available in small London gardens.
DESIGN PLAN: LOWER SECTION
Design Catherine Clancy Garden Design www.catherineclancy.com Build Bes landscapes www.beslandscapes.co.uk Plants Provender Nurseries www.provendernurseries.co.uk BEFORE: TOWARDS THE HOUSE
Decking Thermowood www.timbercut4u.co.uk Sleepers and fencing materials Orchard Fencing www.orchardfencing.co.uk
THE GARDEN BEFORE
Paint for sleepers and fencing Protek www.protekwoodstain.co.uk Outdoor kitchen worktop Stoneworld www.stoneworld.co.uk
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Waterblade Primrose www.primrose.co.uk
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OF THE CURVE BEDFORD HOUSE NAO LANDSCAPES THIS LANDLOCKED GARDEN COURTYARD WAS IN DESPERATE NEED OF AN OVERHAUL SO ITS NEW RESIDENTS COULD MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR OUTDOOR SPACE
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ituated in a busy residential area just off Balham’s high street, this landlocked garden courtyard needed a revamp so the residents from the new residential block made up of 41 apartments could make the most of it. Design and build The courtyard garden was planned to provide easy maintenance, with a communal green space, incorporating subtly designed children’s play equipment and easy to use street furniture. A combination of contemporary hard landscaping textures and surfaces creating an attractive hard-wearing space for the build presented itself as a unique selling point in the advertisement of the new properties. Work commenced on site at the groundwork level, including installation of a SuDS system. This included a plastic lined tank – filled with 6mm to 20mm of aggregate – that stormwater outlets feed into. Once groundworks were completed, work on the surface landscaping could begin. The courtyard design consisted of a variety of 1 2 3 4 5
PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £140k Build time 5 months Size of project 230m2 Awards BALI National Landscape Award 2019 – Hard Landscaping Construction (Non-Domestic) Under £500k
Paved and resin surface areas Sectioned areas for private residential use Children’s play orientated features Aerial view of internal courtyard Bespoke winding granite bench
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complex hard landscaping features, with consideration to a varied use of materials, play equipment and textures. These hard textures are seamlessly joined by a sweeping curved bench, flowing from one end of the garden to the other. SureSet Resin was laid surrounding the feature bench. The resin can also be found in several other areas of the garden space, merging design features including sleeper stepping logs set in concrete and the children’s play equipment. Granite paving sourced from CED Stone was laid in varying sizes, with paving on pedestals used for the private courtyards of residences on the ground floor which were detached from the main communal area by timber slated fences. Challenges Adding to the general matter of dense residencies and heavy traffic flow, Bedford House is positioned next to a primary school which brought extra health and safety requirements to deliveries and a very carefully timed distribution scheduled in order to bring minimum distribution and noise pollution. Extensive plans on site also had to be complemented for the storage of unlaid materials and waste, due to space being extremely constrained. The five-month project ran over the winter months and required precise delivery schedules and installation dates which had to be strictly managed; despite the cold weather extremes and holiday periods.
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REFERENCES Build NAO Landscapes www.naolandscapes.co.uk Design Harper Downie Creative Architecture www.hdar.uk Paving CED Stone Group www.cedstone.co.uk Timber fencing International Timber www.internationaltimber.com Drainage George Lines www.georgelines.co.uk 6 The winding granite bench up close 7 The short journey from indoors to outdoors
A B O U T N AO L A N D S CA P ES Having worked in commercial landscaping around the world for over 15-years, Nick Osman created NAO Landscapes in 2016 to pursue his passion in hard landscaping. NAO Landscapes is proudly active on large scale commercial and residential sites in London and the South East.
Aggregates Soils and Stone www.soilsandstone.co.uk Photography Gary Britton Photography www.garybrittonphotography.co.uk Playground equipment Timber Play www.timberplay.com
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LAND STUDIO IS YOUNG, BUT IT HAS CARVED OUT ITS PLACE IN THE INDUSTRY. DIRECTOR SIMON RICHARDS TALKS TO US ABOUT SOME OF THE PROJECTS WHICH DEMONSTRATE THIS BEST, AS WELL AS HIS PHILOSOPHY FOR RUNNING AN INNOVATIVE, EFFECTIVE BUSINESS
t five years old, landscape architecture, design and masterplanning practice Land Studio is expanding with purpose. “Over the last five years we’ve developed a diverse portfolio of work in a range of sectors from education, leisure and visitor designation sites. We’ve worked on very specific projects and not tried to do everything,” explains director Simon Richards. “First and foremost, we wanted to establish a body of work that enabled us to set a foundation in the sectors and location we’re in. We’ve purposefully grown in a strategic way to make sure we’re dealing with those projects in a high-quality way.” Land Studio works with caravan and glamping sites located in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or National Parks, completing design led landscape assessment work that allows these sites to gain planning consent. More often than not, these are complex sites with challenging briefs. “Landscape assessments form a big part of our business,” explains Simon, “and it’s a specialty we have – that expertise to really analyse these sensitive sites and get results for clients of various scales.” These sites range from farmers’ fields with two or three glamping pods to 150 lodges in a National Park. The complexity comes pre-planning permission, where Land Studio needs to ensure the position of structures addresses visual impact concerns and creates privacy for its end users, all while enhancing biodiversity and creating habitats. One way it does this is by analysing historic field patterns and reinstating previous smaller field patterns by re-establishing hedgerows. Land Studio is incredibly context driven, something which is illustrated by its project at a school in Newtown in Wales. The additional learning needs school will have elements typical to this sort of project: outdoor classrooms, forest
schools and sports facilities. But Land Studio is planning on taking this to the next level. Horticulture will lead the way, with proposed plans including seating areas placed under fruit trees – offering shade, shelter and structure – raised vegetable beds, orchards, hedgerows, stone walling and plenty of trees. Bringing the scale of the surrounding landscape back to a human level, this will sit comfortably in Powys, creating different spaces for different times of the day and for different uses.
YOUNGER, FRESH TALENT BRINGS WITH IT IDEAS AND A NEW DESIGN APPROACH WHICH I THINK WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM “Powys is the biggest county in Wales, and this school is very unique to this location. How we respond to that site in terms of the needs of the pupils is very specific, with layers of challenges,” explains Simon. “But it also fits in with our design philosophy well, because we were able to bring nature into people’s lives in a much more intuitive and integrated way.”
ST MARY’S SCHOOL, WHITNEY
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MARLEYFIELD HOUSE CARE HOME
Having carved out a niche for itself, Land Studio has also gained a strong team of six over the years. Their experience ranges from senior landscape architects like director Simon, who has almost 20 years of experience running landscape teams and working all over the world, to graduate landscape architects on the pathway.
THORNBURY PRIMARY SCHOOL
For Simon, this makes for a balanced team. “I think it’s important to have a real blend of youth and then experience in being able to deliver projects,” he shares. “I’ve always taken on young team members because I think the younger, fresh talent brings with it ideas and a new design approach which I think we can all learn from.” Of course, there’s an abundance of skills which the graduate landscape architects learn from senior members of the team, and Land Studio wants to maximise its learning experience as much as possible. “One of the key things a lot of graduates don’t get enough of is site experience; understanding contractual workings,” explains Simon. “That’s something we’re addressing by offering our graduates the chance to shadow to run them through a project and allow them to understand all the processes.” Another appealing aspect of Land Studio – both for graduates and no doubt senior landscape architects too – is its work with BIM. This sets Land Studio apart, and enables it to lead on projects and dictate more of the design of the site, rather than being led by architects
or engineers. “It gives a much more holistic design solution to a site because we have an appreciation of everything, from trees to topography to massing the scale of buildings so the whole thing can sit together in a more cohesive way,” Simon explains. It’s fair to say Land Studio’s foundations are there – it’s got the approach, the projects, the staff and the technology – and now its setting its sights on expansion. “Our approach is to build on what we’ve done over the past five years, growing at a rate that is built on solid foundations. “We are exploring the integration of other disciplines into what we do and are looking at the potential for bringing in civil engineering, ecologists and tree specialists into the team,” he says.
POWYS CREMATORIUM SKETCH
Land Studio’s second angle in terms of expansion is location. It’s looking at opening an office in Cardiff, and with Simon co-chairing the Wales Design Review Panel and the company’s growing mid-Wales and South Wales projects, it seems like a perfect fit. This might also extend to other border counties within England, to repeat the phenomenal successes it has seen in Chester.
C O N TA C T Land Studio, Soughton House, 2, Nicholas Street Mews, Chester, CH1 2NS Tel 01244 319 019 Email email@example.com
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GARDEN STORAGE DOESN’T USUALLY ELICIT MUCH EXCITEMENT IN A GARDEN PROJECT, BUT ANJI CONNELL WANTS TO CHANGE THAT
rom country gardens to balconies, it’s likely that any size garden will need a place to store tools – and no doubt a little bit of junk. In an ideal world, incorporating storage solutions should be addressed in the planning stage, or within the scope of a renovation, an extension, or the addition of a garden room. Sadly, this isn’t always possible, but there are still many solutions. Sheds A shed is the most straightforward solution, with the option of customising them with a painted finish, a mural, or cladding. Adding a shingle, terracotta, or a slate rooftop will give a traditional look. In contrast, ceramic tiles will add a more contemporary aesthetic or a bit of colour and fun. Topping them off with a green living roof will add softening and bring in wildlife.
THERE’S ALWAYS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE SOMETHING FUNCTIONAL YET UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL CONTAINER GUEST HOUSE, POTENT ARCHITECTS
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BILLYOH BIKE STORE
A beach hut is an excellent option for a coastal property – the only problem is clients would most likely rather use it themselves than leave it for their tools. This is where an inconspicuous cupboard along the backside could come in handy. Well-organised storage is vital – add shelving, labelled boxes, and back-of-door storage pockets for plant labels and other small items, and wall-hung storage. You can also incorporate storage under outdoor bench seating and in dining table bases. Don’t forget to install lighting to avoid clients having to scrabble for tools. Waterproof store Items such as lawnmowers, barbecues, bikes, and outdoor exercise equipment will need a safe, lockable, weatherproof store. The BillyOh Boxer Metal Storage Box with a top opening is a good off-the-shelf option. Adding planting on top will soften it and the sloping top allows for drainage. The BillyOh Newbury Metal Bike Store
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INSPIRE accommodates four adult bikes, with a bit of room left over for additional storage. Both offer safe, stress-free storage solutions and minimal maintenance – as thanks to a zinc coating with epoxy resin, they will not rust. BillyOh also has many wooden bike storage options. For a DIY solution to bike safety, lockable wall-hung brackets inside a shed or any outdoor storage area can be hung. Rather than using a standalone barbecue, if you’ve space, a surfacemounted grill with cupboards beneath adds extra storage and also hides the gas canister. It not only looks good, but it also gives you an additional socialising area, an outdoor kitchen. THE COLOUR PALACE FOR THE SECOND DULWICH PAVILION
emerging architecture practice – The Colour Palace for the second Dulwich Pavilion. The pavilions offer a fully immersive experience. We can enter them, walk through them, touch them, look around, sit and observe, and listen; they often have a soundtrack and lighting. They are also inspirational in showing us how we can add something similar to our projects, even if it needs to be in a significantly scaleddown version. Small spaces When it comes to small spaces, using the vertical is the way to go. We can build up with a series of geometric forms that can double up as seating, viewing platforms, planting spaces, and as a children’s play area. Using the lower YORKSHIRE LAVENDER FARM
Screening Wheelie bins are often the biggest eyesores and screening them off is the easiest solution. Try to make them disappear as much as possible with willow panelling or living willow panels, trellis, creepers, or metal suspension wire. For a more contemporary look, use vertical and horizontal wood slatting or metal panelling, solid or laser cut for a stylish, more modern look. Add an access door, or slide the bins out to one open side, and if you have a roof, green it.
ARTIST MORAG MYERSCOUGH
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Sculptural There’s always an opportunity to create something functional yet unique and beautiful. A sculptural feature or a fantastical folly will add intrigue to the landscape and incorporate storage within a more sculptural and exciting form. Follies, also known as eye-catchers, are built today in much the same spirit of indulgence as they always have been – for unadulterated visual pleasure. They are decorative structures that serve no other purpose than to amaze and delight. Latterly, we’ve seen a fabulous array of thoughtprovoking, and pleasing temporary pavilions, such as the Serpentine Gallery’s yearly offerings and Yinka Ilori’s collaboration with Pricegore – an
level for storage and leaving upper floors for entertaining and relaxing is a fun way to have a functional and sociable space – it’s also a talking and a gathering point. A memorial in the Yorkshire Lavender Farm comes to mind. Four metal pyramidal shapes representing the family are highly evocative. Yes, the sculpture is on a farm, but there is no reason why something similar shouldn’t or couldn’t work in a smaller space, even in a small area, especially when it is exceptionally functional. Having a hollow structure with access will allow for storage. And what fun to design and commission a functional folly – let’s engage our creativity and share some joy.
ABOUT ANJI CONNELL Internationally recognised interior architect and landscape designer, Anji Connell, is a detail-obsessed Inchbald graduate, and has been collaborating with artisans and craftsmen to create bespoke and unique interiors for a discerning clientele since 1986. Anji is a stylist, feature writer and lover of all things art and design.
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Best project One of our smallest projects. Two wonderful clients found their garden build grind to a halt at the start of the pandemic. Over the ensuing four months, the garden told the story of our journey through the pandemic. They were very patient and, at the end of May, we returned in a staggered fashion. What was previously laid to lawn was filled to bursting with perennials (planting plan by serenafremantle.com). A year later and the pictures show how well loved the space is by Jo and her partner, Catherine. The team loved working for them and are now working on Jo’s parents’ garden! Colleagues None of this exists without the team. Everyone brings something to make the magic and I am grateful to all of them for the work they put in. Working with my husband tests our relationship more than I would like – I sometimes check and remind myself that it is his creation and I’ve walked in at the easy stage. He deserves the credit with his longstanding team and Jake in particular, who has been with Johnstone Landscapes since school and now runs the projects and the teams.
Mentors My boss from the National Trust, Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, remains my ‘go to’ for advice and a sounding board. Best learning curve Avoid micromanaging. People only step up when you empower them to do so, and they will make mistakes. They need to make mistakes in order for them to take ownership of their tasks. The high and low points of your career I worked as a PA in London for 10 years before moving to Wiltshire; I had more fun than I think I was supposed to. A low point was being sacked from a well-known finance house in London. I think I probably deserved it! Joining the board of BALI was a huge high point for me and seeing what a difference they all want to make is inspiring. I am also finally building a second business (www.andgarden.co.uk) which is a selection of many of the things we love curated in our new studio and design space near Hungerford. This is something I have dreamed about for years. Leadership style I try to not oversteer or constantly tell people exactly what to do. People rapidly grow in
confidence when you let them solve problems. I also try to listen more to the team about how they want to do things. It works so much better when they have ownership and are fully engaged. I am still learning. What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months? The website is my top priority. I have started it twice in the last three years as ours is so out of date and I don’t seem to achieve what I want – to be able to show commercial clients that we do their work as well as all the beautiful gardens we are known for. We are slowly increasing the number of gardens we have had photographed professionally (Jason Ingram) and the difference that content makes is enormous. We are still working hard at increasing the team numbers, to enable us to build our commercial and maintenance side and to be able to run more large-scale projects at the same time. In turn, this will provide more opportunities for the current team – roles for all of them to progress into which is incredibly important.
TESSA JOHNSTONE INSPIRATION People I am inspired by so many people I know and lots I have never met. In the industry, I love talking to Paul Lynch from Elmtree Landscapes, Simon Oliver from St Johns Garden Centre and Paul Downer from Oak View Landscapes. All have
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vast amounts of experience and are extremely generous with their time. I also have huge respect for my aunt, Julie, who lives in New Zealand and is president of the Auckland Horticultural Council. I have made a firm friend in Adrian Wickham, fellow diversity and inclusion board director at BALI, and we have a lot of plans to help increase diversity in our industry.
T H E D I R E C TO R O F J O H N STO N E L A N D S C A P E S A N D B A L I B OA R D D I R EC TO R H A S A LO N G L I ST O F I N S P I R AT I O N S A N D A P E N C H A N T FO R S A I L I N G
Gardens I love Harold Peto’s Iford Manor in Bradford on Avon; beautifully looked after by Troy Scott Smith. I am also always drawn back to The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens in St Ives, Cornwall. One is immersed in her passion for the work she created.
Hobbies Sailing. My father, Peter Milne, was a yacht designer. He was known for a particular dinghy called ‘Fireball’ and I am immensely proud of his creations. We grew up on the south coast, and we would spend weekends exploring inlets and waterways around Chichester. I don’t have a bad memory of those days. Living in landlocked Wiltshire does not make sailing easy, but I am lucky enough to still get on the water. I’ve just gained my power boat licence, so I am going to get the hang of that over the next couple of years. Design tastes I am obsessed with ceramics and love the simplicity of John Julian’s work through to the genius that is Ana Kerin. I love sculpture placed well in the garden, and I have followed Tim Royall’s work for years. I admire the bravery of Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, the diversity and knowledge displayed in Jinny Blom’s gardens, and the painterly eye of Sarah Price. Manoj Malde is someone I adore following for his fearless use of colour. Most treasured possessions Correspondence between my father and Donald Campbell. My father designed the tender to ‘Bluebird’, a boat that Donald believed would provide him with a lucrative career by producing the jet-propelled speed boat commercially. On the same day my father took the jet engine tender, JETSTAR, to The London Boat Show, 4 January 1967, Donald died in his ill-fated attempt at the world water speed record on Lake Coniston. Food I adore food, probably a little too much. I love Spanish food and I love brave chefs. If I was to have a last supper it would have to run over two evenings, and Andres Alemany and Merlin Labron-Johnson would cook. I would share both with my sister, Sue, who loves the same kind of food as me. Most fun you’ve ever had Dancing with my husband at the comedy club in Bath and then watching a string of women queue to dance with him because he is so good at dancing.
Places you’ve been Cornwall may not be a far-flung adventure, but I find something new each time we visit. Vejer in Spain holds so many extended family memories. I am always thrilled to plan a trip based in such a spirited town and never tire of the windswept, sunflower abundant landscape. Another favourite memory is cycling the Atlas Mountains in Morocco with my sister and brother-in-law in my early 20s.
Places you’d like to go I would love to visit San Francisco and Japan. I’ve always yearned to rent a campervan to visit the National Parks with my daughter Scout and my husband’s children, Hamish, Georgie and Tilly.
How do you like to stay when you’re on holiday I want lovely white linen on a horizon-reaching bed and local food with a cold beer. I couldn’t be happier than 10 days on Spetses at this white-washed haven, The Captain’s Hideaway.
How you like to travel I nearly have packing down to a fine art. Even if we go away for two weeks, I just take hand luggage (as long as it’s somewhere hot). Good service, if we ever get to stay in a hotel, completely outweighs the décor. Being looked after is just such a treat.
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M A K I N G SPACES
COVID-19 HAS SPARKED DEMAND FOR GREEN SPACES AND COULD CHANGE OUR STREETSCAPES PERMANENTLY, SAYS WOODSCAPE
or more than a year, COVID-19 has been disruptive to all our lives, with the repeated lockdowns and periods of isolation affecting people in varied ways, and this has resulted in an increased appreciation of the outdoors and in the expansion and redevelopment of urban spaces to better suit the changing world. A survey by Natural England demonstrated that 89% of adults agree that green and natural spaces are good for mental health and general wellbeing, with demands for public spaces particularly prominent among the lower earners, who are less likely to have a home garden or to live close to parks and other outdoor recreation, a problem only enhanced by travel restrictions and lockdowns.
Utilising our urban and retail spaces, repurposing them to make quality social and green spaces everywhere we can, is among the most important tasks our government faces today. “The environment, after all, is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest. It is the one thing that all of us share.” – Lady Bird Johnson It’s a testament to the the councils, planners, landscape architects and associated industries, that many areas of the UK have been ahead of this problem. While it may seem to the public that many projects are in reaction to the pandemic, a huge number of schemes across the UK in fact reflect years of investment, work and dedication. The West End Project in London has had a massive impact on several areas already with many more to come. Pocket parks will be appearing along Tottenham Court Road, and
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Alfred Place will be the first new green space for its borough in 25 years. Whitfield Gardens (pictured) has undergone a complete refurbishment, including a restoration of the famous Fitzrovia mural, utilising fixed and movable street furniture to allow the space to be flexible for a wide range of events.
UTILISING OUR URBAN AND RETAIL SPACES, REPURPOSING THEM TO MAKE QUALITY SOCIAL AND GREEN SPACES EVERYWHERE WE CAN, IS AMONG THE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS OUR GOVERNMENT FACES TODAY Public realm enhancement undertaken in Southgate, Bath in 2019 was specifically targeted at providing spacious locations to dwell and socialise, with Brunel Square outside the main train station featuring expansive tree seats ideally situated for the nearby outdoor dining. The seating installed in Peach Place, Wokingham, brings artistic flair that invites you to linger in a delightful commercial space without infringing upon social distancing, and you’ll find our spacious Grid benches peppered along Kensington High Street. Ensuring customers have spaces to wait and rest is essential in revitalising the retail economy. Ongoing PEACH PLACE, WOKINGHAM on a massive scale, the redevelopment of Wembley has taken every opportunity to include wall & step seating or expansive vent seating platforms at ground level, with countless roof garden and balcony spaces being included on the surrounding
commercial and residential properties. Developers are seizing the chance to design bespoke solutions for roof gardens and balconies, to fully utilise their available space in creative ways, such as the planter seating shown below at Camden Lock Village. Schemes reacting to the changing demands of urban spaces are happening around the world in increasing numbers. The Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius provided space for WEMBLEY
outdoor catering to 400 businesses and closed many roads, some CAMDEN LOCK VILLAGE changes now being permanent, effectively converting the centre into a single massive open-air café. San Francisco’s Shared Spaces programme fast tracks the use of outdoor venues benefitting businesses and KENSINGTON HIGH STREET customers alike, and the Bristol Street Space programme looks to restrict traffic flow through retail zones to improve the space for visitors. Such schemes have quickly and dramatically impacted areas, and changed their perception for good. The users of these new spaces are making them their own, and will not readily allow a return to pre-COVID conditions. Woodscape are grateful to be a part in these spaces all over the UK, and is working closely with the industry on hundreds more, by making street furniture that truly makes spaces. www.woodscape.co.uk
Recycled plastic Plastic has long been a versatile and durable material, therefore seeking a less environmentally taxing option that offers these benefits is fundamental. Recycled plastic has numerous environmental benefits, such as saving depleting landfill space as well as averting pollution and contamination within ecosystems such as soil and the sea. The Loop Picnic Up is a mushroom shaped picnic set and is part of a range of street furniture available in 100% recycled plastic. The recycled material is Nordic Swan Eco-labelled. The inviting design creates a socially engaging environment and thanks to the lightweight structure it is perfectly suited to roof terraces, urban areas, pop up parks/event spaces and school playgrounds.
FURNITUBES Corten steel Corten steel’s naturally occurring rust helps to lengthen the life cycle of the product, which in turn keeps costs to a minimum. Corten is also virtually maintenance free, making it ideal for use on structures where maintenance would otherwise be difficult. Corten looks great when used in urban environments and large open spaces. It is particularly suited to planters and planter walls. The potential staining on the user's clothes or on pavements needs to be considered – we never advise Corten for use in high touch areas like armrests or seat and bench surfaces. It should also be avoided in high-saline coastal environments as they can create excessive rusting due to their corrosive nature. We recommend 316L grade stainless steel in these environments instead.
M AT E R I A L M AT T E R S FO U R ST R E E T F U R N I T U R E S U P P L I E R S I N V E ST I G AT E FO U R D I F F E R E N T M AT E R I A L S A N D T H E I R B E N E F I TS A S W E L L A S W H E R E T H E Y ’ R E B E ST S U I T E D
VESTRE Nordic steel Vestre’s steel carries a 30% lower carbon footprint than the global average due to its manufacturing process using 100% renewable energy. It’s also of a very high quality, which makes it particularly long lasting once galvanised. Vestre uses a hot dip galvanising method that was developed for the offshore oil industry which provides a very long-lasting zinc alloy; this means it offers a lifetime warranty for its steel against corrosion. If it's powder coated as well, (duplex system) the life of the steel is increased further as the paint provides another layer of protection. Vestre selects thick plate – e.g. 8mm – that can cope with a tough life on the street. This is important otherwise every knock will damage the furniture and lead to it being replaced more quickly – which is not sustainable.
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WOODSCAPE Naturally Very Durable Hardwood Naturally Very Durable Hardwood (NVDH) is extremely robust – timbers with a section size of 200mm have a life expectancy when in ground contact of more than 100 years. It demonstrates a high level of fire retardancy, and the ingress of water doesn't result in internal decay. NVDH offers the natural beauty of timber alongside durability. NVDH is also ideal for sea wall defences, or walkway supports through marshy ground. Woodscape specialises in manufacturing street furniture from NVDH sourced from FSC Certified tropical forests, with its full FSC Chain of Custody Certification providing complete reassurance. The Tooting Seats continue to be a popular product, seen here at Wapping Quay, Liverpool, a beautiful design that will remain that way.
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THE GATEWAY TO THE CITY
REBORN IN RED R E J U V E N AT I N G T H E CZ EC H R E P U B L I C ’S Z VO N A Ř K A B US STAT I O N W I T H M M C I T É F U R N I T U R E
ne of the most remarkable renovation projects in Europe in recent times has undoubtedly been the effort at Zvonařka Bus Station in Brno, Czech Republic, underpinned by the work of architects Ondřej Chybík and Michal Krištof. Thanks to them, the Republic’s second largest city now has an entrance befitting a city that welcomes 25,000 people every day. The project, co-initiated by the architect duo, has a positive effect on the public space, repurposing it into a functional art piece equipped for the needs of modern travellers. The new bus station is both more user friendly and aesthetically unified. Its designers have even kept its social impact in mind, too.
The striking brutalist structure, built in 1988, has been cleaned, neatened, brightened up with a coat of light-coloured paint to open up the space and fitted with 400 new lighting elements. Some original furnishings remain, refreshed in line with Chybik + Kristof’s design, and are joined by brand-new pieces by outdoor furniture specialists, mmcité. A construction technically and functionally unique to anything else in Europe, the steel lattice structure of the shelter roof has also undergone work. Despite its scope, the project has managed to preserve the original building’s structure while also repurposing a public space into a functional art piece adapted for the needs of modern
ZVONAŘK A IN NUMBERS
85 PIXEL MODULES
20 BISTROT TABLE AND CHAIR SETS
CRYSTAL LITTER BINS
PIXEL SEATING IN THE BUS WAITING ROOM
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travellers. Above all, it delivers greater throughput and a more logical division of operations, but also a newly created departure hall built in the organic shape of a wave, with the entire northern side of the bus station opened up towards the city. The building’s concrete structure is accented in black, reflecting its industrial setting and the old factory brickwork of the neighbouring Vaňkovka shopping centre and the official colour of the city. “We consider Zvonařka Bus Station one of the most significant public spaces in the city, which is why it’s essential to take a whole range of factors into account during the regeneration work. Firstly, architecture responds to the desired function of the project, so any solution must be clearly defined and purposeful. Secondly, all the emphasis has to be placed on the demands of its users. The third and most important principle is that the architects intrude on a fragile ecosystem where socioeconomic factors, historical significance and environmental fears all converge. We must take all of this into account,” adds architect Ondřej Chybík.
ADVERTORIAL The red wave of the departure lounge bridges the key space between the ticket offices and refreshment stops, while the equally colourful furniture from Czech designer mmcité’s Pixel range, winner of a Red Dot Design Award, adorns the waiting room. Playfulness, creativity and irregularity are all words that immediately spring to mind when met with Pixel for the first time. Pixel modules can be fitted with backrests, armrests and even flowerbeds depending on the buyer’s needs. A cornerstone of this project was to add green space to create an oasis of relaxation. Thanks to Pixel and its built-in flowerbeds, plants can become an integral part of the seating arrangements, and also serve to visually break up this otherwise hectic space. “Pixel is one of our most creative seating solutions,” comments David Karásek, co-founder and owner of mmcité. He goes on to add: “The steel perch seats can be placed anywhere in a seating area, and combining their square forms allows you to create almost endless arrangements. Pixel becomes even better suited to this project when you consider the optional
AT MMCITÉ, BEING ECONOMICAL AND ECO-FRIENDLY REALLY MATTERS. WE TRY NOT TO WASTE MATERIALS, AND THAT PRINCIPLE EXTENDS TO WOOD, TOO extras we offer, such as armrests for the elderly, built-in coffee tables, as well as USB charging, which is obviously valuable to travellers.” For street furniture production, mmcité uses a small number of different wood profiles, which it strives to use for as many different product ranges as possible. Even though the material is used for various purposes, the technologies used are not perfect, and the process gives rise to pieces of wood that are too small for normal product manufacturing but are otherwise still
PIXEL SEATING AND CRYSTAL LITTER BIN
BISTROT OUTDOOR SEATING
high-quality wood. “At mmcité, being economical and eco-friendly really matters. We try not to waste materials, and that principle extends to wood, too,” explains Karásek on the creation of the Pixel range. It is founded upon a base square module standing on one galvanised steel leg. The seat is comprised of wooden lamellas arranged either parallel or perpendicular to each other, and the wood can be swapped for a metal grille instead. All the pieces are available in a range of colours, as can be seen at the Zvonařka project itself, which uses generous splashes of red for the floor and seating. To use up the leftovers, work began with relatively small pieces of the wooden lamellas. “For it to work, you have to use a more supportive structure, which can make the product more expensive. So, we looked for a new, simpler method of assembly, the result of which is a patented fixation system for lamellas in a frame,” concludes Karásek, who also occupies the position of chief designer at mmcité, and whose wealth of experience and love for public spaces is clear to see in the brand’s products. Lotlimit bicycle stands have also found a place at the base of the red wave, with their simple form combining L shapes to echo the design of the roof, serving as both a functional and beautiful element in the outdoor parts of the bus station. The galvanised steel structure of the stand is treated with a powder coating, and anchors below the ground with concealed screws. Outdoor seating is provided in the form of an anchored arrangement of Bistrot tables and
chairs, also by mmcité. Bistrot is an unconventional concept, with raised elements made from outdoor HPL and the option to apply graphics or patterns. Its colourfulness knows no bounds, and thanks to the arrangement’s fixed installation it fulfils the current demand for socially distanced solutions in public spaces. Quick meetings, a spot of refreshment or sending a few emails – Bistrot solves it all in style. “We use mmcité furniture in our projects all the time thanks to their smart design and class-leading quality. Pixel’s playfulness and inherent variability made it the obvious choice from the moment we started planning an indoor space at the Zvonařka departure lounge,” explains architect Ondřej Chybík. The symbiosis between the architecture and furniture of Chybik + Kristof and mmcité is also on display in Znojmo, as part of the renovation of the town’s brewery and the neighbouring Enotéka wine bar, as well as at popular Prague gastro market, Manifesto.
ABOUT MMCITÉ Mmcité is a leading Czech brand with an established and unmistakable philosophy renowned for innovative design, development and production of street furniture worldwide. Its portfolio includes city benches, litter bins, bicycle racks, and shelters. The overarching theme behind all its designs is combining visual and aesthetic style with the fulfilment of a user’s every need. A strong emphasis is placed on the use of highly functioning materials which must work in any environment and withstand even the most challenging conditions. mmcité is not only a supplier of quality pieces of street furniture, but it is also a partner to all those who want to create something extraordinary out of a public space. The string of honours the firm has won over its 25 years includes Good Design, Red Dot, IF Design, EDIDA, and Czech Grand Design awards. mmcité products can be found in great European cities such as Prague, London,Copenhagen, Budapest and Paris, as well as in North and South America.
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s landscapers vary from design companies to design and build, we offer a multifaceted approach for the sector. The traditional route to market is our ‘trade supply only’ service – we manufacture goods to the client specification and deliver to them and they carry out the installation. This represents the best margin for landscapers as they make the trade to retail margin on the product plus install costs. However, not all landscapers have the personnel to carry out the installation or even wish to do it due to existing workloads, so we also offer a supply and installation service where, along with manufacturing the goods, we also carry out the installation using our own technicians. This guarantees a seamless journey for the landscaper and contractor, particularly if they have not installed our products before or undertaken the appropriate training. Where landscape projects are already completed, and the end client has an additional requirement for a canopy (post-project completion), we also offer a referral service – the landscaper passes the project to us in its entirety and receives a referral fee. Creating the right products To assist landscapers, we have dedicated in-house sales and technical support teams. Landscapers can forward plans/photos etc to us along with their vision and our team will come back with suitable solutions and details. We also welcome our partners to visit our premises and bring their clients along. Partners can also undertake training at our academy with one of our skilled technicians to truly understand the ins and outs of the products.
Pro Landscaper / September 2021
C OV E R I N G
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Available options The Caribbean Blinds Outdoor Living Pod™ as the exclusive brand name for the original louvered roof pergola canopy, provides the ultimate luxury, all-weather, outdoor living space that gives the customer complete, year-round control of the elements. Ingeniously designed for those who want to live life outdoors, the innovative rotating louvered roof permits the user to control light and shade, offering an open-air alfresco feel when left fully open, and ensuring a completely water, wind and even snow-tight roof when closed. Optional windproof screens, ambient LED perimeter lighting and instant infra-red heaters ensure a cosy and pleasant environment can be achieved whatever the weather. Built for durability and longevity, the low maintenance, simple to use, Outdoor Living Pod™ is constructed from super strong, corrosion resistant,
Installing to a high standard The installation is equally as important as the quality of the product itself. If the landscaper goes down the supply and install route, then we guarantee seamless installation as our engineers know the products inside out. If they go down the traditional trade supply only route, we provide them with free hands-on training at our premises where they learn to install a structure of similar specifications to the one they are installing. On the day of installation, we provide a dedicated tech support manager who is available to deal with any snagging issues on site or via a video or a phone call.
ABOUT CARIBBEAN BLINDS For more than 30 years, Caribbean Blinds has been exclusively designing, manufacturing and supplying the very finest external shading systems that transform the use, functionality, and enjoyment of all types of spaces.
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Product GrillSymbol Luna Silver Dimensions 119cm x 47cm RRP £3,450
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Pro Landscaper / September 2021 75
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The Luna Silver is the ultimate fire pit for elegance and convenience. It is designed for the modern person and a modern setting. The wood burning fire pit is made from 5mm stainless steel and ideal for those wishing to avoid rusting and rust marks on the patio. While other fire pits rust, the Luna Silver’s exterior panel will retain its vibrant colour. The Luna Silver comes with a lid and with two stainless steel height adjustable, 360° swivel grills, perfect for barbecuing meat and vegetables separately. Key features: • Exterior panel/legs made from 5mm stainless steel • Includes two large stainless steel swivel/height adjustable grills • Either Valencia Rose (light pink) or Extra Black (black) stones • Manually brushed and acid cleaned surfaces • Full diameter: 119cm • Inner ring diameter: 78cm • Height: 47cm • Total weight: 200kg • Free delivery • 14-day money back guarantee, if you are not fully satisfied
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0800 949 4040 1
RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW SEPTEMBER EDITION
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t’s another year of firsts for the RHS. Last year was the first time the Chelsea Flower Show had been cancelled since the Second World War and the first time it was transformed into a virtual event. This year, it’s the first time the show has been postponed as it appears for the first – and likely last – time in September. Typically taking place in May, the change in month and season has thrown up a few challenges around the show gardens’ planting palettes. But Katherine Potsides, head of shows development, says the designers are taking it in their stride. “There are a lot of people who have been saying how great and fun it is to work with different plant palette and to try something new, to really embrace the seasonal favourites. We’ve got a lot more grasses and late summer perennials. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a RHS Chelsea in September – it’s never happened before, and may never happen again. “We also have speciality growers who are appearing at RHS Chelsea for the first time. We’re really looking forward to the different colours and different vibe, and to warmly welcoming back the industry and garden fanatics in general – it’s going to be fabulous.” Alongside the judged gardens, the RHS will have two feature gardens this year, one of which is the RHS COP26 Garden, designed by Balston Agius and led by Marie-Louise Agius ahead of the climate change conference in November (find out more about this on page 85). The second is The BBC One Show and RHS Garden of Hope. A “phenomenal” steam-bent wooden sculpture by Charlie Whinney flows
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K AT H E R I N E P O T S I D E S , R H S H E A D O F S H OW S D E V E L O P M E N T , S H A R E S W H AT ’ S I N STO R E FO R V I S I TO R S A S T H E R H S C H E L S E A F LOW E R S H O W M A K E S I TS C O M E B AC K
through the garden, which has been designed by Arit Anderson “with its destination in mind”, as it will be relocated to the Rosewood Mother and Baby Unit in Dartford. It’s not just the show gardens to look out for, though. With the pandemic highlighting the different types of green spaces people have access to, the RHS has focused heavily on inspiring those with little to no outside space, starting with its House Plant Studios, which were meant to launch last May.
IT’S A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY, A RHS CHELSEA IN SEPTEMBER – IT’S NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE, AND MAY NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN Five small balcony gardens – 16.5ft by 6.5ft each – will also appear at the event for visiting city dwellers, recognising a surge in urban gardening. There will be a “container garden space” too, “perhaps for Generation Rent where you’re potentially moving house quite a lot – you can lovingly grow something in a pot or a trough and take it with you,” explains Katherine. “I’m really excited to see these come to life. It’s inspiring what you can do in small spaces
THE BBC ONE SHOW AND RHS GARDEN OF HOPE, RHS FEATURE GARDEN, DESIGNED BY ARIT ANDERSON. RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2021
©Rachel Sampson Design and it’s important that the RHS recognises all greenery; we try to inspire anyone to grow, whether it’s indoors, outdoors, on balconies, windowsills or in plant pots.” Now Freedom Day has been and gone, the question visitors will no doubt be wondering is what COVID-19 measures are going to be in place. “We have lots of planning around different levels of COVID-19 restrictions and measures and we’re remaining flexible to follow any government guidance and advice for major events in the intervening weeks,” says Katherine. “We’ll make sure our exhibitors and visitors are first to know of any changes we have to implement.” There will be a lower capacity of visitors on each day, so this year’s event has been extended to six days. Looking ahead to next year, RHS Chelsea will be returning to May with the launch of Project Giving Back, a new initiative to give charities the opportunity to promote their message with a fully funded garden. Eight show gardens will be funded for the 2022 event, as well as a new category: All About Plants. Far from curbing this world-renowned show, the pandemic has seemingly made the RHS even more determined to hold an event which emboldens and showcases the industry, as well as inspires existing and a new generation of gardeners. RHS Chelsea’s back, and possibly bolder than ever.
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GET TO KNOW
THE GARDENS A LO O K AT T H E G A R D E N S A P P E A R I N G AT R H S C H E L S E A F L OW E R S H OW 2 0 2 1
S H OW G A R D E N S TRAILFINDERS’ 50 TH ANNIVERSARY GARDEN Inspired by the landscape, culture and plants of the Himalayan foothills. ©Robert Myers
Designer Jonathan Snow Contractor Stewart Landscape Construction Sponsor Trailfinders
THE FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE GARDEN: A CELEBRATION OF MODERN-DAY NURSING Designer Robert Myers Contractor Bowles & Wyer Sponsor The Burdett Trust for Nursing
Shining a spotlight on the critical role nurses play in modern-day healthcare.
BODMIN JAIL: 60° EAST – A GARDEN BETWEEN CONTINENTS Designer Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw Contractor Cube 1994 Ltd Sponsors Bodmin Jail, Bodmin Jail Hotel Discover what grows in a climate with annual lows of -20°C.
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in ater ©Ek
ARTISAN GARDENS GUIDE DOGS’ 90 TH ANNIVERSARY GARDEN Designer Adam Woolcott & Jonathan Smith Contractor Conway Landscapes Sponsor The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Celebrating 90 years of the first guide dog partnerships through a wildflower garden.
THE BLUE DIAMOND FORGE GARDEN Designer The Blue Diamond Group Team Contractor Conquest Creative Spaces Sponsor Blue Diamond
Recreating the sprit of The Forge which has been in continual use for centuries at Branscombe in Devon.
©Adam Woolcott & Jonathan Smith
©The Blue Diamond Group Team
GUANGZHOU CHINA: GUANGZHOU GARDEN
Designer Peter Chmiel with Chin-Jung Chen Contractor The Outdoor Room Sponsor Guangzhou, China Highlights the benefits of responsible city planning.
THE M&G GARDEN
THE YEO VALLEY ORGANIC GARDEN
Designer Harris Bugg Studio Contractor Crocus Sponsor M&G
Inspiring communities, architects and developers to create sustainable green space in their plans.
©Harris Bugg Studio
Designer Tom Massey, supported by Sarah Mead Contractor Landscape Associates Sponsor Yeo Valley ©Tom Massey
Habitats and plants found at Yeo Valley’s family-run organic garden in Somerset.
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FINDING OUR WAY: AN NHS TRIBUTE GARDEN
THE CALM OF BANGKOK
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tc wa Ta
Designer Tawatchai Sakdikul and Ploytabtim Suksang Contractor AJ Watts Landscaping ©N
Showing the two sides of Bangkok through tropical planting and calm simplicity.
FINNISH SOUL GARDEN – A NORDIC HERITAGE SEASIDE GARDEN
Designer Naomi Ferrett-Cohen Contractor Burnham Landscaping Ltd Sponsors University of Oxford, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Designer Taina Suonio Contractor Conquest Creative Spaces Sponsor Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland Depicting a seaside garden intended to be used as a leisure facility by city dwellers.
Recognising the collaboration between UK university researchers and NHS staff to find new treatments and vaccines to counter COVID-19.
Designer Sarah Eberle Contractor Landform Consultants Sponsor Bible Society
BIBLE SOCIETY: THE PSALM 23 GARDEN Reflects both the journey and the destination found in Psalm 23, inspired by the landscape of Dartmoor.
THE PARSLEY BOX GARDEN Designer Alan Williams Contractor Landform Consultants Sponsors Parsley Box erle
Championing and empowering the over-60s to challenge the stereotypes of ageing.
82 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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CENTRE OF THE GARDEN: UNIVERSAL WINDOW BOX ©RHS/Balston Agius
D E S I G N E D B Y B A L S T O N AG I U S A N D L E D BY M A R I E- L O U I S E AG I U S , T H E R H S C O P 2 6 G A R D E N A I M S TO I N S P I R E A N D E D U C AT E . W E S P E A K TO M A R I E- LO U I S E TO F I N D O U T M O R E , A S W E L L A S H OW T H E P R O C E S S H A S B E E N S O FA R
rom 31 October to 12 November 2021, the UK will be hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). The conference will bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action. And the RHS wants to create a game-changing garden to help spread this message even further. Showcasing at the Chelsea Flower Show, which for the first time is taking place in September, The RHS COP26 Garden will demonstrate the role gardens, green spaces and plants play in protecting biodiversity, our plants, and people. Designed by Balston Agius and led by Marie-Louise Agius, it was something the company jumped at the chance to work on. “It’s a tremendous honour to be asked – I wondered if they had the right person at first!” Marie-Louise tells us. “It’s an enormous commitment, especially with our other work and the uncertainty around COVID-19, but it’s a hugely important subject matter – something that is essentially at the heart of our industry – and you don’t often get opportunities to have that sort of platform.” For Balston Agius and Marie-Louise, it’s a platform that will inspire, educate and engage with people.
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THE GARDEN ITSELF WILL BE SPLIT INTO FOUR, EACH SECTION REPRESENTING A THEME: DECLINE, ADAPTATION, MITIGATION AND BALANCE
• The Decline quarter will highlight key climate change issues. This is where we’ll see most of the hard landscaping, as poorly managed planning and construction and excessive drainage result in flooding and paved over front gardens are fit only for a parked car.
• In the Mitigation quarter, landscaping and planting ideas that help our environment will be demonstrated at a community and personal level – from the ground up. This begins with the fundamentals of soil, worms and compost and features a wildlife pond, a pollinator friendly meadow and a green front garden.
• The Adaption quarter will use highly drought tolerant desert plants, meadows and the equivalent of a shrubland to show how we can change our landscaping and planting to respond to climate change and the extremes of drought and downpour.
• The Balance quarter will see a modern cottage garden bursting full of environmentally friendly plants, fruit and veg and ornamental planting represents how people can work with nature in spite of rising temperatures and severe storms.
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THE EAST CORNER
Of course, this year, the RHS gardens will play host to an entirely different palette of plants. “It’s fun to be working with different plants, but there’s a huge degree of the unknown,” explains Marie-Louise. “You don’t quite know how the plants are going to survive through the summer or what state they’ll be in come third week of September. None of the growers have ever grown show plants for the third week in September either, so it’s a huge challenge for them.” But Marie-Louise is up for the challenge. “You just have to acknowledge and be aware of the potential issues and have enough flexibility in your design. As long as the plants fit the
IT’S A HUGELY IMPORTANT SUBJECT MATTER AND YOU DON’T OFTEN GET OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE THAT SORT OF PLATFORM criteria and the brief and the relevance for how you are using them, if it’s an X rather than a Y, that doesn’t matter.” Indeed, the team aren’t wedded to any plants in particular and instead are focusing on the bigger picture – communicating the garden’s message. “We want to get people thinking about a more holistic approach to external spaces,”
explains Marie-Louise. “We want to illustrate design solutions but also showcase more interesting plants for tougher conditions. It’s about educating people that it doesn’t matter if you’ve got acres or you’ve got a window box, you can still be involved, you can still play your part. That will be a legacy of the show.” Indeed, alongside these quarters, there will be a universal window box for visitors to view up close, full of variety of climbers, annuals and small shrubs, which anyone could plant in their garden or window box – however small. Its intention is to demonstrate to all visitors how they can achieve mini mitigation. RHS director of science Alistair Griffiths is also hugely passionate about the garden’s message: “The RHS COP26 Garden is an incredible display showing how we can both harm our planet through gardens but also, more importantly, how through our outside spaces we can, through nature-based solutions,
THE WEST CORNER
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proactively do good to help biodiversity, the environment and protect the planet, something that is absolutely vital in this climate crisis and our survival. Never has it been so important to shine a light on these critical issues.” It’s not just the public Marie-Louise is directing the garden at, though. “As a professional in the industry, you have an opportunity and a responsibility. If you’re going to make a legacy in the industry you need to aspire to be the best and to work in ways that are exemplary and responsible,” she explains. “Our industry is enormously wide ranging and so it should be leading the way, demonstrating how green urban spaces can mitigate against the changing provisions.”
NEVER HAS IT BEEN SO IMPORTANT TO SHINE A LIGHT ON THESE CRITICAL ISSUES
Marie-Louise understands it’s not just down to this industry: “We should be leading through legislation as well. If someone is going to try and cut a corner, then legislation should ensure that they can’t – there’s no excuse on new builds.” But, ultimately, The RHS COP26 Garden wants to stress that climate change isn’t an issue for ‘others’ to deal with and that every single person has a responsibility and opportunity to help in the fight against climate change.
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LANDSCAPE ASSOCIATES WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO BUILD THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED YEO VALLEY ORGANIC GARDEN IN SEPTEMBER
helsea is nothing new to Landscape Associates. The multi-medalwinning landscaping company has been appearing at the show since 2014, when it hit the ground running with two show gardens. Now it’s looking to build its seventh; but whilst the contractor has plenty of experience under its belt, this year’s show is set to be like no other. The Yeo Valley Organic Garden was due to appear at Chelsea in May 2020, and since the show’s cancellation that year, Landscape Associates and designer Tom Massey have been waiting patiently to bring the garden to life. Inspired by sponsor Yeo Valley’s own organic garden in Somerset, the show garden has been designed to help showcase the benefits organic gardening can have on the environment. It’s not the first time Landscape Associates and Tom Massey have worked together. They created the Lemon Tree Trust Garden at Chelsea in 2018 and have worked on a number of domestic gardens. “We have a good working relationship with Tom. His designs tend to be uncompromising, and he really likes to push the envelope,” explains managing director Richard Curle. “You invest so much into these gardens; they become a preoccupation and start to take up all of your time. Because of this, you have to have a connection to the garden, it’s got to leap off the page.”
Fortunately, the Yeo Valley Organic Garden did exactly that. “Working with Tom Massey again was an added benefit, and we had a good connection with the sponsors. Hearing more about the regenerative farming model and how they’ve been gardening organically for a number of years to reduce their impact on the environment really appealed to us.” The garden is now set to appear at the September show, which has thrown up more challenges than just a change in planting palettes. When the show typically takes place in May, Richard says contractors can come back after a Christmas break ready to go full throttle
quite difficult. We’re having to make sure we’re ordering materials in plenty of time and stockpiling them at our depot, so we know we have everything we’re likely to need on site.” Despite the challenges, Richard and his team are ramping up their preparations, ensuring as
YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CONNECTION TO THE GARDEN, IT’S GOT TO LEAP OFF THE PAGE
many aspects as possible are prefabricated, such as the steam-bent timber egg which forms the centrepiece of the garden. A large Corten trough has also been prefabricated, which is the start of a water feature running into a stream. When we spoke to Richard, he was about to start a practice run of setting up the garden in the company’s yard. There are still some things which cannot be avoided, though, regardless of how prepared you are ahead of the show. “The naturalistic elements of the garden are going to be the biggest challenge. It’s very difficult to prefabricate things like streams and woodland glades – that has to happen on site. And at Chelsea, you want to make it look as though they’ve been there forever, and they need to be perfect. So, we’re looking at how the stream is going to flow, and we’re going to position and number the boulders to know their exact locations within the final garden ahead of them being delivered to the showground.” Regardless of what it must overcome, Landscape Associates is undeterred. “I’m looking at this year’s event as a positive; it’s potentially going to be the only time it will be held in September. I can’t see the date being moved again. So, it’s a big year to go and see what’s different; to be involved in that is being involved in a bit of history.”
with Chelsea preparations. “Coming at the show in September, preparing at the busiest time of year in what is one of our busiest years to date, has been difficult.” Then there’s issues around supply, as the industry struggles with a materials shortage. “There are cost implications and massive lead times in trying to source materials. It’s been
GRAVEL GARDEN IN SOMERSET TIMBER EGG
GROWING FOR CHELSEA
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YEO VALLEY GARDEN IN SOMERSET
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F E AT U R E GARDEN ONE GARDEN BRIGHTON
THOUGH ITS ORIGINAL OPENING DATE WAS VICTIM TO COVID-19, ONE GARDEN BRIGHTON IS NOW IN FULL SWING. WE FIND OUT HOW IT WORKS IN CONJUNCTION WITH PLUMPTON COLLEGE, AS WELL AS WHAT ITS ENORMOUS RESTORATION INVOLVED
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ne Garden Brighton was created with two groups in mind: the community and students. Funding came from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery Fund’s Parks for People scheme but these groups were a prerequisite – the garden needed to provide educational and learning opportunities and had to focus on the surrounding community. The garden is therefore free to enter, strives to host an array of events which local residents can get involved with and Plumpton College manages and maintains all within its walls. This has shaped the plants within the garden hugely. Plumpton College offers the RHS Level two and three courses and hosts National Trust apprentices, while One Garden Brighton focuses on day courses. Perhaps the biggest benefit of the students working in the walls of One Garden Brighton, though, is that it’s open to the public. “It teaches them a commercial standard,” explains Alex Waterfield, head of grounds and gardens at Plumpton College. “They have to produce top quality plants because otherwise we can’t sell them. This makes them more employable when they finish their course, because they’ve done something really worthwhile,” senior gardener Peter Wood agrees. It’s not just the garden which provides for the students, though. “The garden is full of plants which have been grown by the college. The next years’ students will then lift and divide these plants and we’ll then use them once again in the garden as well as selling them in our market shop.” Quite the smooth running operation – but the journey to this point wasn’t quite as smooth. With demolition work beginning in July 2019 and the majority of the building work completed by February 2020, a grand opening was set for April that year – what could go wrong? As we all know by now, that couldn’t have been worse timing for One Garden Brighton.
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Not only were its prospective visitors deep into lockdown, so were the students. And the 200-year-old walled garden needed all the help it could get. The grade II listed wall’s original purpose was to supply food to Stanmer House, but when the second world war hit it was requisitioned and took quite the battering as Canadian troops used the park for target practice. As the war ended, Brighton and Hove Council reclaimed the garden utilising it to grow trees and plants for most of East Sussex. But, after budget cuts, the garden closed in 2015 and has laid dormant until now. Led by landscape architect Dominic Cole – renowned for his work on the Eden project – One Garden Brighton was re-envisioned to celebrate innovation while still honouring the past. The vision for the creation of the garden was that every student and staff member put at least one plant in the ground, and for the students themselves to input in how the plants should be laid. Sadly, lockdown had other plans. Instead, as areas were topsoiled and became available, a small team planted them up – though this came with its own issues too. “We were at the time shooting for a September/October opening, which meant we were planting in the height of summer,” says Peter. “Trees and shrubs went in first and we were struggling to keep those alive.” Lockdown also meant nurseries were struggling to supply the garden with the plants it needed. This, combined with Brexit causing delays to stock from the giant Dutch and Italian nurseries, meant approaching the beds in a different way. “Instead of planting up one bed and moving on, we had to plant up what we could and then return to those areas when additional plants came in,” explains Alex. Although stock plants grown by students were a saving grace, when opening day finally did roll around, the team still needed to bring in just over 12,000 bulbs to add colour to the space. And, despite the trials and tribulations, One Garden Brighton opened Easter weekend and over four days it saw 12,000 visitors walk through its gates. If visitors thought that the opening weekend was impressive, now it’s had a chance to bloom
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the garden has really come into its own. Alongside the 2.2 acres of gardens, the site houses One Kitchen, a destination eatery, and One Market which serves as an outlet for Plumpton College, showcasing the produce crafted by its students as well as local produce; 2.2 acres may not sound like a lot, but One Garden Brighton manages to pack a punch. On opening weekend, visitors would have been able to see the historic wall at all times. Now, hedging blocks the view and breaks the garden up, creating the desired rooms all of which have their own theme. The All Seasons Garden is designed – as the name may give away – to provide colour and interest as one season moves into another. Located at the entrance, evergreen shrubs such
IT TEACHES THEM A COMMERCIAL STANDARD...THIS MAKES THEM MORE EMPLOYABLE WHEN THEY FINISH, BECAUSE THEY’VE DONE SOMETHING REALLY WORTHWHILE as Escallonia will add scent and welcome visitors as they make a beeline for the warmth of inside. This plant in particular took its time to establish: “We had a cold hard winter for about two weeks, and the Escallonia was just sticks, but this year it’s really taken off,” Peter reflects. In the next zone, the Hot and Dry Garden demonstrates which plants might be suited to the longer, warmer and drier summers the UK may experience in the coming years as our climate changes. Alongside Mediterranean drought tolerant planting, this area is home to cannas and banana plants – though not completely drought tolerant, these tropical plants are used to a warmer climate. The rain garden offers visitors an example of an increasingly popular sustainable drainage system. Demonstrating how to utilise a flood
prone area, the rain garden also showcases multiple purpose planting. “This shows how you can use the same space for two different types of planting,” says Peter. “Reeds and other bog style planting like Zantedeschia can sit in the wet area, while plants that don’t like getting their feet wet – rosemary, Euphorbia – sit on the banks where it’s going to dry out very quickly.” Elsewhere, the Canada Garden is dedicated to the role Canadian troops played in ending the second world war, as well, of course, as their presence in Stanmer Park, through the selection of only North American and Canadian planting. A Pollinator Garden brings in the bees – and may well host a hive of bees in the future. A wall hosts shade loving planting, and the urban production garden offers Stanmer residents inspiration for their typically long, thin gardens. Though each section has its own theme, Peter still wanted them to connect. “Each garden links in some way. If we’re using grasses in the Pollinator Garden, I’ll reflect that in the next section. I didn’t want it to feel at all disjointed.” Wandering through the relatively small but impactful space, visitor’s may be fooled into thinking when they’ve seen the garden once, they’ve seen all it has to offer. But not at One Garden Brighton. “We aim to change elements in the garden as often as we can, so that every time
someone comes back there'll be something new to see.” One element which is set to transform the garden is the Contemplation Garden. Originally, Dominic designed a reflection pool surrounded by circular seating, but there was a slight hiccup in the design. “We realised there’s a strong wind tunnel down the side of where the garden would have been,” explains Peter. “A beautiful red acer had to be relocated because it defoliated three times from being blasted by wind and sunshine.” So, students at Plumpton college were asked to create a design. Though some were a little bigger on the budget than others, they sparked ideas and garden plans to revitalise the space. There are talks of a Japanese-style inspiration, and plants which will move in the wind, but we do know for certain it will keep one thing in mind: “Some big gardens across the UK are very impressive, but visitors can rarely simulate that in their own spaces,” Peter mentions. “Gardens here are designed as thematic areas, but on a scale where visitors can take ideas home.” As the garden evolves, so will its offering to students and the community. The garden is set to become the second place commercially to be home to a tower garden. Standing at two metres tall, it can house 600 salad crops, micro herbs, edible flowers and more. The reservoir at the
bottom of the tower pumps water upwards and drips this back over the plants every 15 minutes. There’s no soil, no compost, it uses 95% less water, and you can crop up to three times faster. If that wasn’t enough, the garden has also
WHAT’S ALWAYS BEEN TAUGHT HERE IS VERY TRADITIONAL HORTICULTURE. NOW WE CAN OPEN UP THE MARKET TO YOUNGER STUDENTS WHO ARE TECH SAVVY ordered a robotic arm. This will undertake tasks like sorting planting cuttings, seed sowing and moving plants from one bench to another. The garden is working in conjunction with Kings College London and Sussex University to make full use of the technology. “What’s always been taught here is very traditional horticulture. Now we can open up the market to younger students who are tech savvy, without them having to go down the PhD route,” says Alex. Of course, students and the community will remain at the heart of the garden, but weaved throughout is sustainability. Whatever could be used from the previous site has been, and the garden is also petrol and chemical free. These ideas have been built into the garden from the offset. After all, if it wants to keep providing for students and the community, a sustainable and a climate conscious approach is the way forward.
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Hot and Dry Garden ©James French Recycled material planters ©James French Walled garden from above © Alex Waterfield One Garden from above © Alex Waterfield Pollinator Garden ©James French The Palmhouse, as part of the walled garden One Garden oak benches ©James French Hot and Dry Garden ©James French Peter, senior gardener ©James French All Seasons Garden Plant sales within One Market ©James French
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SELLING THE SECTOR
TO STUDENTS A
NICK COSLETT EXPLAINS HOW THE BALI CHALK FUND IS SUPPORTING EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN THE SECTOR
Photographs ©British Association of Landscape Industries
s students enrol in a new college year, so do those seeking to study landscape. However, they are too few – across all disciplines of landscape, from landscape architecture to horticulture and landscaping. What can or should we be doing to encourage more youngsters to enter the world of work which we love and enjoy? It is marvellous, with good people, plants, happy customers and challenges to overcome, even if it’s raining! BALI’s own charity, the BALI Chalk Fund (BCF), supports education and training in the landscape sector, including GoLandscape. One of its initiatives is an annual prize for the best student on a landscape course at a BALI member college. These lucky students get a £100 prize. Each of these students go on to be assessed for the National Landscape Student of The Year where they and their college each get a ticket to the prestigious BALI Award ceremony and £500 each. George Truss studied the extended Diploma in Horticulture at Writtle College and went on to be the Student of the Year for 2019. He has used his training well and gained experience; though only 21, he is a director in his grandfather’s firm, Constable Landscapes, leading one of two hard landscaping teams and passing on his skills to an apprentice. The firm is enjoying the ‘lockdown boom’ in making gardens for customers and is booked up into 2022. This year with COVID-19, only three of the usual nine colleges entered this year. How sad
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that, when there are prizes and recognition on offer, colleges aren’t motivated to take part. The BCF is looking at how we can overcome staff turnover hurdles and get greater engagement with and commitment from colleges.
THE BCF IS LOOKING AT HOW WE CAN OVERCOME STAFF TURNOVER HURDLES AND GET GREATER ENGAGEMENT WITH AND COMMITMENT FROM COLLEGES The BCF also supports an enrichment programme in colleges and has piloted this for more than two years with Capel Manor (Enfield) and Bridgewater (Cannington). BCF is also funding lecturers in NEBOSH training so they can deliver the ROLO training. More colleges are being recruited – Brinsbury (Chichester) and SRUC (Edinburgh). In this programme, the BCF funds additional training and examination in competent operators’ tickets such as: digger and/or dumper driver, strimmer, hedge trimmer, abrasive wheel and sprayer certificates (PA1 & PA6a), in addition to the ROLO Safety and Environmental certified course, a pre-cursor to the LISS/CSCS card. This enrichment programme delivers students with work-ready tickets at a great saving to future employers.
So far, BCF has boosted 69 students with 104 certificates and tickets. They are still seeking more colleges with which to partner. So, if you have any influence with a college, please give them a nudge to contact BALI’s education officer Stephen Ensell. The BCF encourages supporters to become a BCF Champion and already has eleven signed up. There are three levels for landscape companies, which don’t have to be BALI members. It helps them to meet their corporate and social responsibilities and give something back: • Bronze at £250/yr will produce five students leaving college with a ROLO/CSS LISS card ready to go on site. • Silver at £500/yr is equal to the prize money awarded to the National Student of the Year. • Gold at £750/yr will enable our enrichment programme to spread and benefit future employers/employees many thousands in training costs and enabling those in training to be 'work ready'. There is more information about becoming a champion on the BCF website for those interested: www.balichalkfund.org.uk.
ABOUT NICK COSLETT Nick is now retired but has worked in landscape offices, parks management and horticultural nurseries. For the past 20 years, he has also run soft landscape workshops at Coblands and Palmstead. He has been involved in BALI at a regional and national level, and is a trustee of the BALI Chalk Fund, as well as an awards judge.
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CONTROLLING THE CONFLICT C
urrently, it would seem that we are entering into one of the recurring bubbles of political and social conscience where a course of action is deemed to be the right one and there is a burst of frenetic and spontaneous activity within a defined timescale. Consequently, demand is high. The number of ambitious targets being released by politicians of both central and local government, and others spuriously claiming that canopy cover will be increased by a certain percentage within a given number of years, combined with the claims that a certain number of trees will be planted within a two/ three-year period are increasing almost daily. Yet most of these targets – and I am not saying they are inspirationally wrong – are ill-considered and often unachievable. Tree population management is strategic and needs to be considered over 20, 30 or 40 years, or even longer. There needs to be a vision. What is the long-term objective of all this accelerated increased planting of trees? There is little evidence that strategic goals have been considered in any of the initiatives which have so far emerged into the public domain. Are trees being planted to increase the level of ecosystem services provided within any given geographical area? Is the intention to improve wellbeing and physical condition through the provision of more environmentally sound places? Or do the statements just provide a short-term political response to the enhanced environmental awareness of the public? Yet there is no excuse for spurious goals and targets. The methodology exists to provide
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CONCLUDING HIS THREE-PART SERIES, KEITH SACRE EXPLAINS HOW STRATEGIC PLANNING CAN MANAGE THE CONFLICTS BETWEEN SUPPLY AND DEMAND
the foundation for the emergence of long-term strategic management plans for our urban forests. I-tree Eco enables assessment of the urban forest; its condition, composition, value, the benefits it provides, and its vulnerability to attack by any pest and or disease can be assessed. Existing tree inventories can be easily converted to provide valuable management information providing an answer to the core question in any management scenario: "What have we got?" This leads to an assessment of "where do we want to be" and a management and investment plan as to "how we get there". Inevitably, tree planting will be part of any long-term management plan but such planting can be rational and considered, geared to achieving long term goals and targets. As a result, it is possible to envisage tree planting being carried out to achieve identified goals over time resulting in a consistency of demand and a background where nursery investment can be viable. The eradication of ‘planting bubbles’ through strategic management will also reduce the need for imports and improve biosecurity. So, how can these apparent contradictions be reconciled? It is right that biosecurity remains central to both local and political policy makers; it is right that Defra, The Forestry Commission and others continue to advise and, where appropriate, regulate. An accreditation scheme for nurseries and other players within a complex supply chain is positive and should be supported when it emerges. It is right that individuals recognise and accept responsibility when purchasing trees. It is right that no imported tree should be planted into the UK landscape without first spending at least one full growing
season on a UK nursery where full precautionary biosecurity measures can be implemented. Alongside this, it is right that the number of trees planted, particularly in our urban environments, continues to increase and it is right to support national and local policy and funding initiatives which make this possible. But – and this is the big ‘but’ – if this acceleration in planting is to be sustained and more trees are to be supplied by UK nurseries, either being grown in the UK or imported and effectively quarantined for a growing season, there has to be action which reconciles supply with demand. However, the reconciliation between the need for more planting of trees and the need for improved biosecurity will be encouraged if long-term strategic planning becomes a feature of the way the urban forest is managed. With strategic planning, it is possible that funding streams for new planting will be continuous, rather than subjected to a rollercoaster which rises and falls on a continuous basis. With a constant stream of funding, and resource allocation strategically planned, demand streams can be rationalised, and therefore long-term consultation with the nursery industry becomes a possibility to enable supply to be managed to meet demand.
ABOUT KEITH SACRE Keith has more than 20 years’ experience in local government as nursery, parks and operations manager. He is currently arboricultural and urban forest director at Barcham Trees – the largest container tree nursery in Europe – past chair of the Arboricultural Association and trustee of the Trees and Design Action Group. Keith is a member of the Chartered Institute of Foresters and a chartered arborist. He has an MSc Arb, BSc in Social Science and BSc Arboriculture.
THE P RO BL E M L
ifelong learning’ has become accepted as something that every professional should aspire to. For those in the landscape profession, however, it can be difficult. Many work in small or medium-sized businesses which often find it difficult to find time or resources for staff training; a great many too are self-employed, the sector which is the most notoriously difficult for career and professional development. Anything concerning plants and planting seems to present particular challenges, and it is worth looking at why. Firstly, creating and managing effective planting involves certain skills, which can be learnt, but crucially it involves a lot of knowledge acquisition. The range of plant material available to practitioners in the British Isles is huge – and for those who work on smaller projects or who are adventurous, it is ‘huge, times a big number’. Gaining a working familiarity with the ‘normal’ plant range does take effort and time and, I would add, enthusiasm. Gaining such familiarity with a more adventurous range requires real dedication. Access to databases and the development of formulaic plant mixes on the German model may in the future help many, but they will never replace the knowledge of the true ‘plantsman’. The range of plants available to practitioners is never static. Nurseries, and their different plant ranges, come and go – new species and cultivars are always coming out. The current interest in ecological planting design is adding a whole new area of
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PLANT KNOWLEDGE IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN, AS NOEL KINGSBURY EXPLAINS
W I T H PL A NTS
complexity. This is not just a new area of which a new conceptual framework has to be understood to be used effectively, but crucially it involves plants interacting and competing, in a way they do not in ‘conventional’ plantings. Putting plants together whose proportions will change over time requires the ability to predict future interactions, and the ability to predict which will survive long term and which may not.
THE RANGE OF PLANTS AVAILABLE TO PRACTITIONERS IS NEVER STATIC. NURSERIES, AND THEIR DIFFERENT PLANT RANGES, COME AND GO The way in which we are using plants is changing and is tending to increase the interface between our profession and others. Technologies such as green roofs, sustainable drainage schemes, reed bed wastewater management, natural swimming pools and green walls are all part of a growing movement in using plants for active environmental amelioration and increase the need to understand which plants are appropriate to use and how to use and maintain them. Over the last year and a half, most of us in the landscape and garden business have been
extraordinarily busy. I am glad to be able to report that as education providers, my business partner and I have been amazingly busy. Being in a position to offer online learning has been an enormous boon during this very difficult time but has also opened doors which were previously closed. It has been hugely exciting to be able to have international lecturers make their skills, knowledge and inspiration made available to British audiences, and of course to beam ‘our’ practitioners far and wide too. It is all too easy, however, to offer educational events that cover ‘trendy’ subjects, like ecological planting design. But what about the less ‘sexy’ subjects like pruning, soil preparation or weed control? What would help would be to create an expectation amongst clients that landscape and garden professionals should keep themselves up to date, should be continually engaging with training, and that their fees reflect this. What might help is a range of qualifications and certifications that give some guarantee that practitioners have at least studied a particular area. Promoting awareness of these could then help create the public expectation that we are all of us continually trying to raise the bar.
ABOUT NOEL KINGSBURY Noel Kingsbury is a freelance designer, writer and researcher who has long promoted naturalistic planting design. He also teaches at Boston Architectural College.
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BOURNE AMENITY J O N AT H A N B O U R N E , D I R ECTO R O F B O U R N E A M E N I T Y LT D , E X P L A I N S H OW T H E C O M PA N Y C O N T I N U ES TO A DA PT TO STAY A H E A D O F C H A N G I N G C L I E N T D E M A N D S A N D E X P ECTAT I O N S
ourne Amenity now has some 25 years’ experience of supplying landscaping materials, but the course of our business really started changing around 2010. At that time, we noticed that clients and architect specifications were becoming much more technical, focusing on soil performance metrics and detailing the makeup of the material. For instance, rather than just specifying “topsoil” or “subsoil”, the documents started specifying each soil component, such as sand, pH, nutritional elements, and prescribing how they should perform from a horticultural and environmental perspective. While the first British Standard (released in 1994) covered three grades of soil, we were now seeing exact specifications for individual planting areas and performance criteria. These documents were often associated with projects for the London 2012 Olympics, covering areas such as wetlands and wildflower meadows. For the first time, there were requests for materials such as aquatic soil, low fertility substrates or lake marginal soil. We found that, because of our easy access to materials and full control over the blending and delivery processes, we could work out exactly how to blend a range of primary materials to match the various criteria for the distinct areas of the Olympic Park and Village. This inevitably requires a deep understanding of what is actually in the soil we deliver. If you increase the pH, that restricts the nutrients
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available. If you increase the sand content, the soil becomes more free draining, just to take a few obvious examples. Most soil sold today comes with a certificate of provenance giving the client an idea of what they are purchasing. However, increasingly that material is also being tested by the client once in situ. Therefore, we take great care over sourcing materials, as remediating problem soil is much harder once it is in the ‘ground’ as opposed to before it reaches site. Such costs are trebled when working at height, making trust in the supply chain even more crucial.
WE NOTICED THAT CLIENTS AND ARCHITECT SPECIFICATIONS WERE BECOMING MUCH MORE TECHNICAL, FOCUSING ON SOIL PERFORMANCE METRICS AND DETAILING THE MAKEUP OF THE MATERIAL We have since developed numerous soils and substrates to cater for an increasing variety of schemes. At the last count we feature 28 different blends on our website. Each blend comes with full analysis and application information to help the client make an informed decision. However, we also put together bespoke mixes. This is becoming increasingly common as industry knowledge of soils improves, thanks to organisations such as Tim O’Hare Associates which work tirelessly raising understanding of soil makeup and performance. Indeed, this is a development you can see everywhere – as customers become more sophisticated and aware of what is possible, the trend is for any product to become more
bespoke, whether it’s a branded piece of clothing or a high-performance roof substrate. This trend suits Bourne Amenity and the wider Bourne Group, as we have good access to the primary materials that make up soils and substrates, which combined with 70 years of experience gives us the versatility to work on highly specified projects in challenging locations. We are fortunate to have our own quarries, along with screening, blending and bagging facilities, and even an in-house laboratory for basic testing. In addition, our fleet of FORS Gold tipper, grab and walking floor vehicles gives us complete autonomy over
deliveries – crucial when operating on sites where timings and regulations are paramount. We also work closely with our sister company Gardenscape Direct, which counts among its clients some of the highest profile nurseries and growers. Feedback from those at the top of the horticultural profession gives us a better understanding of needs where plant health is key. This knowledge bolsters our offering to the commercial and high-volume side of the industry.
ADVERTORIAL So, that’s where we are today. Looking into the future, there will be increasing emphasis on SuDS, due to pressures from climate change and housing demand. Ambitious roof gardens and podium projects create a need for our entire product range to have lightweight options, which comes with its own challenges, including water and nutrient retention. The longevity of material performance is also under scrutiny, and we work with our clients to review past schemes and assess how the materials are holding up after a few years of seasonal change and public interaction. We want to ensure that our materials don’t wilt as the years go by, resulting in expensive renovation work – a major consideration for restricted access sites. In other areas, too, the requirements are getting more precise. It is not unusual now to see soil pH being specified between 7.4 to 7.6 for “optimal” planting conditions. Maintaining such a precise value over perhaps a thousand tonnes of soil is not straightforward, and it is important to manage client expectations and work with the specifiers to keep it realistic. Delivery schedules also demand increasing precision, especially in London and other inner-city environments. The landscaping materials are usually a long way down the list of importance in the supply chain, and therefore getting in and out of site with as little fuss as possible is key for the client. Having our own fleet of lorries along with multiple discharge options is a great advantage in this respect. We are gearing up for more complicated schedules, and at the same time caring about the environmental impacts of everything we do, reducing the carbon footprint of all aspects of our work. Traceability of materials is also very important, as we look to source locally available materials wherever possible. Whatever performance requirements the client may have, we always seek to meet and ideally exceed them. Every year it gets harder, but every year we improve our performance. Here, the quality of people in our organisation is key. We invest in our staff and, as a family-run business, take an interest in their wellbeing and life outside of the workplace. With over 50 years of combined experience in our sales team, and three full-time logistics operators, we can service multiple high-spec projects simultaneously without compromise. On a final note, as suppliers, we don’t work in isolation. It is important that we work with other manufacturers to share information about new methods, specifications and best working practices within this fascinating industry. We have healthy relationships with our competitors and are always happy to share experiences with them and to encourage working together for a common good. www.bourneamenity.co.uk
RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science “Bourne Amenity was very honoured to supply the topsoil and treesand element into this Ann-Marie Powell designed project at RHS Wisley. We supplied materials into both the World Food Garden and the Learning Garden, which are part of the RHS’s £160m investment aimed at bringing visitors closer to world leading garden science and cutting-edge horticultural practices. The educational element to the project was highly inspirational and the results are there for all to see, perfectly executed by Mark Gregory and the team at Landform Consultants.”
RHS Wisley photographs: ©Paul Scott/Front Elevation
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UNNATURAL NATURE? COULD GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANTS BE A KEY PART OF THE FUTURE OF HORTICULTURE? THERE ARE PROS AND CONS IF IT IS, SAYS LEWIS NORMAND
enetic modification’ as a term generates polarising opinions in those discussing it. It always has and likely always will. Most people can see the advantages of making crops produce higher yields, or require lower water levels than before. Few like the idea, though, of eating animals that have been modified through bioengineering techniques. The nature of our understandable fears of a Frankenstein’s Monster or somehow altered genes transferring to our genetic make-up through some anomaly of the unforeseen, make this branch of science concerning for a great many of us. I think there are obvious and clear reasons for people to have strong views here and I doubt that many people will change opinion on the matter once a position has been formed. Personally, I’m intrigued by the scientific potential, but worried about the consequences of fully opening this Pandora’s box. As part of our split from the EU, the UK Government made clear its aspirations for our scientific bodies to be able to research and develop techniques and applications for genetic modification in plants and animals. Understandably, the early focus on these will be in relation to edible crops and gene editing to encourage bumper harvests, shorter times to mature cereals and lower water consumption for fruits and vegetables. These all maximise our food harvest and reduce our needs on precious resources, which regardless of anyone’s position on the moral or ethical position of GM crops could be said to be a good thing in terms of the environment and our ability to produce sufficient, affordable food across the world. The idea of cereals being
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created that can be grown in the driest countries on earth and feeding the poorest people on the planet is a tough win to reject. One of several areas of gene modification in plants that has long worried me is where editing is undertaken to make crops resistant to herbicides. This leads to patterns of behaviour in intensive cropping where fields are aggressively managed with herbicides to
THE LABOUR OF LOVE AND TIME REQUIRED TO PRODUCE A NEW PLANT OF QUALITY AND GARDEN WORTHINESS THROUGH TRADITIONAL BREEDING TECHNIQUES IS A HUGE PART OF THE GREAT JOY IN CREATING SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND SPECIAL kill off 'weeds' and massively reduce our biodiversity. Field margins have long been the preserve of many animal and plant species that make our countryside the beautiful and engaging place that it is. Much of our wildflower and animal populations are under risk from diminishing habitat anyway and a green light to extend research and ultimately produce GM foods will surely mean further decline. The balancing act of nature and human interaction will tip to a point from which we cannot return. This worries me a great deal and I think it will be a struggle to legislate clearly enough to mitigate these problems
going forward. A common belief held on GM crops has been that they were bred to be sterile, though this really isn’t true and therefore the likelihood of naturally occurring hybridisation is high and over time, the consequences unknown. That all said, the basic idea of gene editing as a means to remove viruses in plants, to extend flowering potential and to add degrees of resilience to climate change or growing conditions is one I can see some merit in. Perhaps the ability to create resistant plants that are unaffected by Phytophthora (sudden oak death), or Chalara (ash dieback) in Fraxinus species could be on the agenda? It is certainly possible to create ‘designer plants’ with flower colour, size, leaf colour and other qualities all being editable, though the plant breeder in me is glad that this won’t be coming any time soon. The labour of love and time required to produce a new plant of quality and garden worthiness through traditional breeding techniques is a huge part of the great joy in creating something different and special. This double-edged sword is one we all need to better understand. It doesn’t seem to be going away and while potentially of great value in some respects, it is risky in others; legal restrictions on research and application seem to be a ‘must’ to me rather than simply desirable.
ABOUT LEWIS NORMAND Lewis has worked in a wide variety of roles within horticulture over a 20-year career. He has lectured on garden design and horticulture, and designed gardens in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Since 2011, Lewis has focused on nursery sales, now working as sales manager at Bernhard’s Nurseries, and has helped to launch a number of new plants into the UK plant market. He is a specialist supplier to show gardens, supplying more than 100 gardens at major shows.
MULCH TO CHOOSE FROM S U P P L I E R S A N S W E R Q U I C K- F I R E Q U E ST I O N S O N O N E P R O D U C T F R O M T H E I R R A N G E
Melcourt Spruce Ornamental Bark Mulch What materials are used? UK sourced mixed conifer bark species (spruce, pine, larch and Douglas fir) with a nominal particle size of 5mm to 35mm. Up to 15% wood content and minimal dust fines. The product is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The product has been fire tested in accordance to BS 4790:1987. Is delivery available locally or nationwide? Nationally. What quantities are available for delivery? Available in bulk loose loads or pre-packed in bulk backs or 60L polythene sacks. How is the bark/mulch sourced? Stocked and supplied by a national network of appointed distributors and stockists. How deep would you recommend it is on installation? 50mm to 75mm, depending on location and planting regime. What is the price per tonne? Dependent on form, quantity and delivery location. www.melcourt.co.uk
STRULCH Strulch What materials are used? Straw with added minerals. Is delivery available locally or nationwide? Nationwide. What quantities are available for delivery? 13.5kg (150L) in quantities of 12, 25 and 48. How/from where is the bark/mulch sourced? England. How deep would you recommend the bark/mulch is on installation? Just less than 2”, but can be thicker if preferred. What is the price per tonne? As we sell in 13.5kg bags, a tonne would equate to 74 bags (48 and 25 bags would give a tonne, but pallets of 48 are cheaper per bag). www.strulch.co.uk
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GREEN-TECH BURY HILL LANDSCAPE SUPPLIES
0-10mm Composted Bark Fines What materials are used? Produced from mature, fully sustainable, UK sourced composted spruce and mixed conifer fine barks, the finished product is a naturally acidic, rich, organic growing media.
Spruce Ornamental Mulch Bark What materials are used? Processed from natural, sustainably produced mixed conifer bark. Spruce Ornamental Mulch Bark is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and is 100% peat free. Is delivery available locally or nationwide? Nationwide. What quantities are available for delivery? 70L bags, bulk bags and in loose loads up to 80m3. How is the bark/mulch sourced? This product is from FSC MIX Sources at a minimum of 70%, FSC certificate number CU-COC-806457. How deep would you recommend it is on installation? The mulch should be laid at between 75 to 100mm depths, allowing at least 10% to 15% for settlement. What is the price per tonne? POA. www.green-tech.co.uk
Is delivery available locally or nationwide? It can be delivered throughout the UK. What quantities are available for delivery? Available loose, in bulk bags and small handy 70L bags at very competitive pricing. What is the price per tonne? POA. www.buryhilltopsoilandlogs.co.uk
Rolawn Landscaping Bark What materials are used? Rolawn Landscaping Bark is a mid-dark brown, high-quality, multi-purpose grade bark. It is a natural product derived from forestry woodchip comprising mixed conifer bark and containing a maximum of 25% white wood (trunk) content. Is delivery available locally or nationwide? Delivery is available throughout the UK mainland. What quantities are available for delivery? Available in bulk bags containing approx. 0.73m3 (730L) when packed. How is the bark/mulch sourced? It is supplied from Forest Stewardship Council® approved sources. The FSC label means that materials used for the product have been responsibly sourced. (Licence code: FSC-C147081). How deep would you recommend it is on installation? For mulching, we recommend a depth of 50mm to 75mm. What is the price per tonne? Prices from approximately £50 per bag. www.rolawn.co.uk
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Strulch was developed at Leeds University by Dr Geoff Whiteley. It is made from wheat straw, is an earthy brown colour has a neutral pH and lasts on the surface for up to two years. Strulch stops weeds germinating by blocking light, retains moisture in the soil and the added minerals and texture deters slugs and snails. 150 litre bags of Strulch are available on pallets of 12, 25 or 48 bags. Delivered within 4 working days. Trade discounts available
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MAKING THE MOST OF
TEAM MEETINGS NICK RUDDLE E X P L A I N S T H E 1 5 K E YS TO R U N N I N G E F F E C T I V E TEAM MEETINGS, N O M AT T E R W H AT THE JOB MIGHT BE
egular, scheduled, non-negotiable meetings are the single greatest and most powerful tool for transforming your group into a team. The purpose of the meeting is to create the workplace your team would like to be proud of, as well as to meet the business needs and goals. These are the 15 key components of an effective and efficient team meeting – whether it’s for management, administration, sales or production. It’s imperative that you have set the rules so that the team knows the culture of how your business, and its meetings, are run.
Set a time Make it the same time every time, so that people book it in as a habit. Set a frequency Make it consistent for the same reason. Select a location In the office, café or on the phone – make it the same place each time. Publish an agenda So that the team knows what’s being covered. Start on time Reward the organised people; train the tardy people to be early. Welcome! Thank them for making the time. Your say Allow everyone to have ‘their say’ on how they are feeling – one minute max. This gets participation and everyone involved. Check in Ask each person to talk about what they have done from the previous week's action list. If they have completed them, congratulate them. If they haven’t done them, get them to commit to getting them done and ask: “How can we/I support you on getting it done for next week?” Celebrate the wins Acknowledge and recognise recent achievements within the team.
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Anything to add to the agenda? Give the team the opportunity to add topics that they want covered. Business What’s happening with the business, good and bad? It’s important to get this out of the way early (there can be negatives that need to be addressed) and then end with positives so that the team leave the meeting on a high. Training Keep it fun and lively. Get everyone involved. A great way to get people learning fast is to set them a topic that they need to work on as a teaching topic for the following meeting or meetings. To do’s for the next meeting Each person is to list down the things that they will commit to doing before the next meeting. Share action commitments Each person reads out their commitments to the group. Finish on time And get working on those commitments!
ABOUT NICK RUDDLE Since 2007, Nick Ruddle has coached many landscape contractors, horticulturists, nurseries, garden centres and garden designers to success and works closely with the main industry associations, suppliers and leaders. With more than 5,000 hours of one-to-one coaching and delivering hundreds of workshops and seminars over the years, Nick can help implement specific strategies, methods, processes and systems that will produce exceptional results for your landscape business. www.nickruddle.com
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SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY S
ocial media continues to be ever more prevalent in our daily lives, whether it be to promote products, campaign movements or to simply connect and share content with others. While it can be invaluable for business development, the opportunities that social media offers naturally present challenges to society. Whether social media activity can (or should) be restricted for employees is a particular challenge. Generally, if an employee posts any activity on a social media account that is used for business purposes, it is regarded as ‘in the course of employment’ and such an account is considered to be the employer’s property. However, this will not always be the case. Usually, most employees may use their own personal social media accounts, which they may then also use ‘in the course of employment'; this phrase is interpreted broadly and can include acts which took place outside of the workplace. There may be instances where an employee is using their own personal social media account and may make comments about their employer or employment or may express views which the employer may consider potentially damaging. The employer may or may not be able to view it, but others may be able to. These factors would be taken into account because, even if an employee publishes a post on their own personal social media account but makes comments which could damage the employer’s reputation, disciplinary action may be justified.
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JASON MCKENZIE AND RANDIP RAI OF ORACLE SOLICITORS EXPLAIN WHY A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY CAN HELP AVOID CONFLICT IN WHAT CAN BE A GREY AREA
So, how can an employer manage such risks? One solution is for an employer to have a social media policy in place, that has coherent guidance on what is permitted, and what conduct is not, and the consequences of any breach. An employer must carefully assess the seriousness of the comments made on social media in deciding whether to take action against an employee. If an employer wishes to take action because it is considered that there is a risk of damage to its reputation as result of an employee’s social media posts, the action taken by the employer must be proportionate to the damage caused, or likely to be caused (the “proportionality test”).
AN EMPLOYER MUST CAREFULLY ASSESS THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE COMMENTS MADE ON SOCIAL MEDIA IN DECIDING WHETHER TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE
posting comments on social media sites which are easily accessible to others, or for particular professional positions. Social media policy Essentially, an employer’s social media policy should take into account a number of factors and the following are some examples of what should be included: • The right to monitor the employee’s use of social media sites, internet and email; • The actions that can be taken by the employer in the event of any breach(es); • Explain the permitted level of use of social media sites and whether this includes personal or business use; • Employees cannot share, detail or refer to any confidential information; • Employees should not claim to be authorised to speak on the employer’s behalf unless such authorisation has been obtained; and • Employees should not make any negative comments about colleagues, clients, etc. Whilst an effective social media policy will offer protection, it should be complemented with training and an additional system in place to ensure compliance of such a policy.
A B O U T O R AC L E S O L I C I TO R S Ultimately, this is a developing area of law where effectively each case turns on its own facts. In some cases, employees have argued that action amounts to an alleged breach of their right to privacy or freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights, and the courts and tribunals have upheld this argument in some cases. However, there has also been a number of cases where it has been found that all privacy is abandoned when
Oracle Solicitors is an award-winning law firm with a deep understanding of the landscape industry and expertise in employment, commercial, litigation, property and contract law. Oracle Solicitors, founded in 2002 has since grown to include offices in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Frankfurt, and Addis Ababa – please visit:
ut and about on my expert witness travels, I am encountering landscapers who are taking on projects that are outside their skills and knowledge set. As a consequence, clients are dissatisfied with their projects. So, how does an ambitious landscaper raise the game and acquire new knowledge and skills without letting their clients down? In recent years I have been on absolutely every product training or open day possible. I can honestly say that I’ve learned an incredible amount – be it permeable bedding mortars, slurry grouts, testing bridge saws, new cleaning products for porcelain or patio sealants. Many of the products carry with them interesting information that I always research when I get home. The events are often well attended with landscapers and people within the industry, and this is also a great way to network. The next thing to consider is your tool kit. Now that I don’t landscape daily myself, I miss buying new kit. I see increasing numbers of landscapers using force action mixers, for example, instead of the average Belle mixer. The list of benefits sways very quickly towards the force action mixer – less mess, ease of decanting into the wheelbarrow and a clean mix with nothing sticking to the back as happens with the traditional mixers. And they are so much easier to keep clean. I also quickly learned that an electric
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STEPPING UP GARETH WILSON OFFERS ADVICE FOR MOVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL AS A LANDSCAPER WITHOUT PUTTING PROJECTS AT RISK
porcelain sponge cleaner to clean grout from patios was incredibly time saving, giving peace of mind when cleaning large areas.
THESE ASSOCIATIONS ARE THERE TO INCREASE SKILL, IMPROVE BUSINESS, GET TO GRIPS WITH HEALTH AND SAFETY AND CONSTRUCTION DESIGN MANAGEMENT FILES Furthermore, I would highly recommend joining a landscaping association, such as the APL or BALI. These associations are there to increase skill, improve business, get to grips with health and safety and construction design management files. I would add, for example, that every landscaping project no matter the size should
have networking, training and advice. Being a member of an association gives great weight to a company and will show clients a company is capable of larger projects. Next is training, such as in higher-end products including clay pavers, porcelain and more diverse aspects of landscaping – irrigation, water features and surveys. The great debate on porcelain fall rates still rages on with many landscapers sticking to the old ‘back of the bubble’ or ‘1mm over the line’ terminology. These techniques will get landscapers in deep and costly trouble, and this is where education and training are essential for a company to keep up to date on the latest best practice landscaping methods.
ABOUT GARETH WILSON Leaving college at 17, Gareth has worked in the landscape industry since 1989. Progressing onto highend projects over the years, he has picked up 30 RHS medals, including Gold at Chelsea. Now a retained consultant to The Landscape Academy, Gareth is a member of multiple professional bodies. He provides technical and product advice to companies, mentors and trains landscapers across the UK, and provides arbitration and mediation services.
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t doesn’t matter what type of business you run, a large amount of your success will depend on your ability to engage, inspire and effectively lead your team. Not an easy task by any means – I would actually say that this is the trickiest thing to get right, as people are all so different. As I used to say to my team of managers many years ago, people are not like the coffee machine; it isn’t a case of calling out the engineer when it goes wrong! For those of you who may think this is the ‘fluffy’ stuff, there is a strong correlation between the engagement of your teams and profitability. A recent article on clearreview.com reported that highly engaged companies result in 21% greater profitability.
A RECENT ARTICLE ON CLEARREVIEW.COM REPORTED THAT HIGHLY ENGAGED COMPANIES RESULT IN 21% GREATER PROFITABILITY So, what do we actually mean by engagement? Well, engagement is much more than just job satisfaction. Engaged employees stay with you, strive to do better and actually thrive in their role. They go above and beyond and do more than what is expected because they are committed and enjoy their work. And how do we know if they are engaged? This is usually determined by
EQUALS HEALTHY PROFITS conducting an anonymous survey which asks a significant number of questions aligned to areas such as clarity of mission and purpose, opportunities for personal growth, management, communication and renumeration. Employers can be nervous about doing a survey as they think everyone will say they want a bigger salary. But whilst most of us would love to be paid more, in my experience this is never the underlying reason people are disengaged. More often than not the real problem is poor communication.
will make a difference to your team. They are relatively simple fixes that will require a change in everyday working practices and culture. It is really about committing to new practices such as regular team meetings and one to ones and ensuring there are also less formal opportunities for feedback. This could be asking your team to contribute ideas, sharing company problems and reporting on the company’s quarterly successes. Get this right and you will be well on your way to building a team of engaged, highly performing people!
How can you tackle poor engagement? There are a number of key drivers that motivate and engage people. Receiving regular feedback (both constructive and positive), having the opportunity to input into company decisions and understanding the company’s vision and how it is performing. These are the things that
To measure the health of your business, take our free BUILD system scorecard, available on our website: www.evolveandgrowcoaching.com
THE TRADES’ COACH, ALISON WARNER EXPLAINS HOW YOU CAN CREATE HIGHLY ENGAGED AND HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS AND WHY IT MATTERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
You can are also invited to join our Trades and Builders Business Growth group on Facebook – visit: www.facebook.com/groups/ tradesandbuildersbusinessgrowthgroup
A B O U T A L I S O N WA R N E R
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Alison Warner is the founder of Evolve and Grow, a business coaching firm that specialises in the trades and construction industry. She is also the author of bestselling book ‘How to go from Tradesperson to Managing Director in the Construction and Trade Industries’ https://amzn.to/2QIb467 and founder of the UK’s first Business Growth Academy for trades. www.evolveandgrowcoaching.com
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VERGE OF CHANGE E
arly 2022 will see some significant challenges for our industry. Some of these we are already having to adjust to, such as the supply of materials, equipment and vehicles, which we will continue to struggle with due to the worldwide recovery from COVID-19, as well as getting to grips with the realities of Brexit. I have heard from several manufacturers which are quoting lead times of six months or more on new products and sitting with empty warehouses; not to mention price increases associated with increased haulage and the administration costs to get equipment into the UK. Others, which we may not be aware of, are stealthily creeping upon us. Changes are coming on 1 April 2022 around the use of rebated fuel and a further tightening of restrictions around who can use red diesel, which could mean that the majority of the diesel-powered equipment we use, including construction equipment, may have to operate on white diesel from this date. At a recent forum with HMRC and several industry bodies and A FULLY ELECTRIC ROBOTIC OPTION FOR LOW FREQUENCY MOWING
end users, there seemed to be a certain amount of confusion on everything from the use of back-up generators to the definition of a roadside verge. We are currently awaiting
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definitive guidance from HMRC with, it has to be said, a certain amount of apprehension. A further interesting development is the move to better manage the grassland on our roadside verges by reducing cutting regimes and promoting wildflower growth and wildlife habitats. Personally, I’m all for it, but only if all stakeholders work to the same set of principles and understand the implications of these changes. On the face of it, you may think that reducing the cutting frequency will save cost, but to promote good establishment you still need to cut once or twice a year and leave the
PREPARING FOR CHANGES IN FUEL USE, A MOVE TO ALTERNATIVE POWER, AND HOW WE DELIVER THE JOB, MAKES 2022 A CHALLENGING PROSPECT arisings to drop their seeds before collecting and disposing of this material, which will be contaminated with litter and debris. A costly operation requiring equipment more akin to agriculture than general grass maintenance. It’s not as easy as taking forage equipment from the field to a park and expecting it to do the same job; there are regulations around where equipment can be used which have to be adhered to: for instance, you can’t use an agricultural type disc mower to cut a roadside verge though there are workable options now available – well for the cutting part at least. We’re all under pressure to operate emission free, but current electric technology works best with higher cutting frequencies and, whilst petrol is cleaner, it is not suited to the power
RESTRICTIONS ON RED DIESEL USAGE IS JUST ONE OF THE UPCOMING CHALLENGES, SAYS ANGUS LINDSAY
demands of heavier plant. So, we return to diesel which, as intimated, is about to become more expensive. Finally, there will be product supply and what will be available to us. Already we are seeing supply of components causing major issues MAYBE WE NEED TO GO BACK TO A SIMPLER APPROACH
within manufacturing, and equipment ordered late in 2020 is now subject to further delay and even cancellation. Preparing for changes in fuel use, a move to alternative power, and how we deliver the job, makes 2022 a challenging prospect and one made even more difficult when you have to commit to requirements even earlier to ensure delivery. But what are you going to order, as no doubt the goal posts will change yet again? Budget cuts and staff issues may dictate a complete rethink to how we deliver the work we do and we’re not out of the woods yet in terms of the pandemic. Does anyone know where I can buy a crystal ball?
A B O U T A N G U S L I N D S AY Angus spent several years working on arable farms in Scotland before joining VSO in Egypt, implementing a mechanisation programme, managing field operations for a commercial cotton plantation in Nigeria and working as a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. He has an Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation Management MSc from Silsoe, and joined Glendale as machinery manager in 1994, then idverde UK in 2009.
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2 0 Y E A R S of
FRESH HORTICULTURAL CAREERS B US I N ES S OW N E R M A R I A N BA R K E R C E L E B R AT ES T WO D ECA D ES S I N C E T H E C O M PA N Y WAS FO U N D E D A N D E X P L A I N S H OW R EC RU I T M E N T H AS C H A N G E D OV E R T H AT T I M E
wenty years is no small feat for any company, let alone one in recruitment. The job market has suffered its fair share of knocks over the last two decades, from the global financial crisis in 2007/8 to the more recent challenge of a pandemic. But Fresh Horticultural Careers has adapted and evolved, all whilst continuing to focus its efforts on the very sector in which it started – horticulture. Business owner Marian Barker has spent a career working in recruitment, spending 10 years with employment agency Reed before being made redundant. The strong relationships she’d formed with clients throughout this time
YOU LEARN SO MUCH OVER THE YEARS, IT’S QUITE REMARKABLE. AND NOW, HAVING A SON WHO WORKS IN LANDSCAPING, I HAVE EVEN BETTER INSIGHT INTO WHAT IT’S LIKE AT THE COAL FACE AS WELL led to one former client putting her in touch with an Australian who ran his own business, Target Appointments. Marian was brought on to start a secretarial and admin division, which she did, and successfully too. But during this time, she noticed that a lot of Australians and New Zealanders were coming in looking for landscaping work and this sparked an idea –
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MARIAN BARKER WITH COLLEAGUES GEORGIE SEMBI AND VIKI HALKETT
to set up a company focusing solely on horticulture jobs, which she says was an “untapped market”. From the start, Fresh Horticultural Careers grew exponentially, says Marian. “Twenty years ago, I knew very little about gardening or horticulture. But one of the best things, and which remains to this day, is that the clients were far easier to deal with than corporate clients. It‘s much more straight forward and we were able to develop relationships easily, many of which I still have to this day 20 years later.” Up until around 2008, the largest part of the business was the supply of temporary staff. “There were times when we had in excess of 200 people out working every week, for small one-man-bands through to large companies like ISS Waterers at the time. For every 100 people, about 95 of them were antipodeans. Then the
global banking crisis happened, and everything started to change. We lost a lot of antipodeans because of visa changes – the two-year working holiday was phased out and a highly skilled migrant visa was needed to come and work within landscaping.” The company continued to supply temporary staff, but the majority became Europeans, and gradually the percentage of permanent recruitment grew too. Now, it’s more evenly split between temporary and permanent roles. “Usually, from early spring to the end of October, our business is temp, but the whole year spreads itself out far more evenly than it used to. This year is going to be different, though – people aren’t going away as much so the maintenance season will probably change slightly. “You learn so much over the years, it’s quite remarkable. And now, having a son who works
in landscaping, I have even better insight into what it’s like at the coal face as well.” With an ever-growing client base, Fresh Horticultural Careers has become a prolific recruitment company in the industry. It has even recruited for the gardens at Buckingham Palace, for which Marian was invited by head gardener Mark Lane to view the grounds and meet the team. It’s one of her fondest memories. “We were led through these underground passages, almost out into the gardens, which was quite a surreal experience. “When we were standing around talking, I spotted a liveried footman with corgis all around him and I squealed with delight! Next thing I know, the corgis are rushing to
2012 WAS A YEAR OF RECOVERY FOR US; THE INDUSTRY STARTED TO PICK BACK UP FROM THERE my ankles, and one of my consultants who was with me is jumping up and down to get away from them! Mark said he always knew when Her Majesty had been in the gardens because she would leave little piles of the flowers she’d deadheaded to the side of the flowerbeds.” Another memorable moment for Marian was supplying temporary staff to help landscape the Olympic Park. “2012 was a year of recovery for us; the industry started to pick back up from there.” More recently, Fresh Horticultural Careers has recruited for the Royal Parks, placing a new head of parks and being granted permission to use the Royal Parks crest. It was also the sole recruiter for The Crown Estate. Whilst the recruiter goes from strength to strength, there are still challenges in the sector which Marian is keen to overcome, namely finding suitable candidates to fill the roles. “We’ve had to look at different ways of bringing staff to us. It’s one of the
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reasons we rebranded from Andersplus to Fresh Horticultural Careers in 2017. We started to visit job centres and horticultural colleges, and we felt that we needed to make it clear to jobseekers that we deal with careers in horticulture.” Finding candidates with a driver’s license, and who are willing to drive around London, has also become more difficult over the last few years, partly due to the expense of learning to drive. Marian herself funded driving lessons for a member of staff, recognising the benefit to the business. To address the problem of finding suitable candidates, Marian says there needs to be cohesion and a uniformed approach from the industry; we need to be engaging young people even earlier. “My dream, ultimately, is to see some form of horticulture on the curriculum, or that it’s available as a BTEC or GCSE. In primary school, you might grow runner beans or have some experience like that. But, by secondary school, horticulture drops off the planet.” Marian also wants to address the issue of diversity, to bring more women into the industry and not just as designers but as landscapers and as part of industry organisations. But the rise of social media, she says, isn’t helping to draw people to a career in horticulture. “The younger generation want to be social influencers, because we’ve not done anything big enough to demonstrate what an attractive industry this is to work in to them. Money is no longer the biggest issue now; it’s about making it an attractive career choice that draws people in.”
The pandemic has somewhat helped open the public’s eyes to the benefits of green space and has sparked a rise in the number of gardens nationally, but there’s still work to be done and this is what Marian will be focusing on going forward, going into schools and discussing the diverse career opportunities available in horticulture. Companies need to help too, though. “The biggest challenge at times is getting our clients to be more flexible in their approach – everybody has to take on board that we have to mentor, monitor, train and offer qualifications, to offer a career. “Every role needs to be valued. Finding hard landscapers is another challenge – I know some clients who are back on the tools because they cannot find the skillsets they need.
MY DREAM, ULTIMATELY, IS TO SEE SOME FORM OF HORTICULTURE ON THE CURRICULUM “My main drive is for an industry that I’ve grown to love and am personally involved in, not only as a business but with my son working in it now. There needs to be less talk and more action. How we do we get horticulture and landscaping into schools? How do we get it onto the curriculum so it’s a recognisable career choice? That’s my objective!” After two decades of success in recruiting for the horticulture industry, Marian – and her team at Fresh Horticultural Careers – seem like the cheerleaders needed to promote the sector. The company has ridden the highs and lows of recruitment for the last 20 years, and it will no doubt find a way to fill roles with skilled and enthusiastic candidates in the future. Congratulations Fresh Horticultural Careers on such a significant milestone!
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 115
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TRAINING AC A D E M I E S
T R A I N I N G AC A D E M I E S AC R O S S T H E C O U N T R Y A R E AT T E M P T I N G TO TAC K L E O U R C U R R E N T S K I L L S S H O R TAG E . B U T W H AT A R E T H E Y O F F E R I N G , A N D H OW D O T H E Y C O M P L E M E N T W H AT ’ S A L R E A DY O N O F F E R ?
ontributing £24.2bn to the UK economy in 2017 and supporting around 568,700 jobs (according to Oxford Economics), outsiders could be fooled into thinking the horticulture industry wasn’t in short supply of skills. But anyone in the industry knows differently, and the Horticulture Matters Report backs this up, with 70% of businesses say they struggle to find the skilled workers they require. Solutions to this seemingly layered problem are in constant discussion and many within the industry have taken the problem into their own hands. One such solution may mark a new era in upskilling – training academies. “More training academies are being set up due to the demand for training and a skills shortage within the industry,” Phil Tremayne, APL general manager (an affiliation of the HTA) tells us. Anne Clark, director of HR & learning at the HTA adds: “Training opportunities within the industry are constantly developing, providing landscapers with the ability to widen their knowledge in subjects such as plant health,
water conservation and the safe use of chemicals and fertilisers.” One such academy is T.A.S.K. And though its in the early stages, founder Rupert Keys has big plans. As well as an indoor classroom, T.A.S.K will also have a covered and
THE EXPERIENCED LECTURERS ARE DISAPPEARING AND IT’S UP TO THE INDUSTRY TO START GIVING BACK BY TRAINING ITS FUTURE RU P E RT K E YS, F O U N D E R O F T. A . S . K
non-covered outdoor area to train in the more practical – and sometimes messier – skills. These will include paving, walling,
STUDENTS IN THE FIELD LEARNING PRACTICAL SKILLS
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hedge laying, dry stone walling, among many more. For Rupert, the reason behind setting up T.A.S.K is exactly as Phil and Anne explain – a huge need for more skills. “Over the past five to 10 years it’s been getting more difficult to find skilled workers – it’s a headache that keeps cropping up,” explains Rupert. “It’s because colleges aren’t providing this kind of training anymore. The experienced lecturers are disappearing and it’s up to the industry to start giving back by training its future.” Indeed, Mark Youde created The Landscape Academy because he felt training for those already in the industry is not easily available. “Businesses are struggling to invest in their staff to make sure they are up to date with latest standards, regulations and products,” explains Mark. “The Landscape Academy was set up to provide a one-stop training centre where accredited courses can be taken to help strengthen our industry and build its future moving forward.” Training at The Landscape Academy is dedicated to raising standards. Businesses and individuals can seek advice in identifying skills and implementing the training needed to develop their future potential. The courses on offer range from hard and soft landscaping to machinery to health and safety. Since the launch of The Landscape Academy, companies and individuals have been flocking to its doorstep and that isn’t about to slow down. Now, The Landscape Academy can proudly say it is a Lantra Awards approved training provider. “The Lantra Awards accreditation is testament to our dedication to provide the industry with comprehensive and relevant courses, helping us to help others raise the standards within the industry,” Mark tells us. Lantra is an awarding body which develops and certifies specialist training and qualifications specifically for land based and environmental industries and its qualifications
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have an equivalent status to City & Guilds. A number of The Landscape Academies courses are already assessed and awarded as Lantra Awards accredited courses, ready for its September dates. For both Rupert and Mark, their courses aim to compliment, not make redundant,
WE FEEL THAT THIS ESSENTIAL TRAINING HAS BEEN MISSING IN THE INDUSTRY, AND IS SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN NEEDED FOR SOME TIME M A R K YO U D E , THE LANDSCAPE ACADEMY
what’s already on offer. “Everyone knows that health and safety training, inductions, machinery etc forms an important and essential part of what we do as landscapers,” explains Mark. “But the addition of our in-depth industry specific courses ensures that we can offer a full package to complement any one, no matter the size of business or work they undertake. We feel that this essential training has been missing in the industry, and is something that has been needed for some time.” With many training academies popping up, is there room for more? “Many skilled landscapers are nearing the end of their careers, looking to give something back,” explains Phil. “Opening training to more people can only be a good thing and people will have a location preference.”
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Rupert too feels that having more is actually the key to success: “There are many training centres/academies dotted around the country, which provides people with a choice. One thing we must ensure is that we all work together and support one another, and are all training to the same industry standard – if one academy is out there doing it’s own thing, then that doesn’t help the industry as much.” The expansion of training academies also comes with a similar warning from Phil: “Many of the smaller ones are training centres and are looking to deliver small courses. Some are looking outside the industry and teaching DIY enthusiasts. “I think the most important thing is that whilst these are being set up, associations like ourselves do our own due diligence to ensure
OPENING TRAINING TO MORE PEOPLE CAN ONLY BE A GOOD THING AND PEOPLE WILL HAVE A LOCATION PREFERENCE P H I L T R E M AY N E , APL GENERAL MANAGER
courses are fit for purpose before we recommend them,” he explains. With the skills shortage still rampant, it seems the more the merrier when it comes to not only encouraging a younger generation into the industry, but also upskilling them when they get here.
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QUALIFICATIONS S H O U L D YO U N E E D A Q U A L I F I C AT I O N TO C A L L YO U R S E L F A ‘ G A R D E N D E S I G N E R ’ ?
THERE ARE MANY GREAT DESIGNERS WHO ARE NOT NECESSARILY QUALIFIED IN GARDEN DESIGN BUT HAVE BUILT ON VARIOUS EXPERIENCE IN GARDEN RELATED AND OTHER SECTORS H O L LY Y O U D E , URBAN LANDSCAPE DESIGN
“Garden design has become extremely complex and having some form of professional qualification is really important to the novice designer,” says Holly Youde of design and build company Urban Landscape Design. “However, there are many great designers who are not necessarily qualified in garden design but have built on various experience in garden related and other sectors.” The industry could end up losing these great designers if qualifications become compulsory,
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says John Brooks of SketchUp for Garden Design, which offers training for design software SketchUp. “Garden designers should of course be encouraged to continually look to educate themselves, particularly on important subjects such as CDM, but we should look to judge designers’ work on its merit not necessarily on the letters after their name.” Being a member of an association, though, is crucial, says James Scott of The Garden Company. “What matters is that anyone calling themselves a garden designer is accredited or actively working towards accreditation. Accreditation with a nationally recognised institution – such as the SGD, the LI or BALI – demonstrates that an individual meets a particular professional standard. “These standards will include quality working practices and proven skills which members of that professional community have committed to and can demonstrate. Designing a garden is complex, and it requires in-depth knowledge, skills and experience. For me, accreditation is the best way to ensure this.” The Society of Garden Designers’ (SGD) “professional route to becoming an established and recognised designer requires a qualification”, says garden designer Darryl Moore, who reports to the SGD council on education. “A qualification is important as it ensures that the designer has learnt about the many areas of practice that garden design entails, including spatial design and planting, construction, specification, tendering and project management. “A qualification gives a client assurance that
a designer has learnt the necessary skills for the job, while full SGD membership is a mark that the designer works to the highest industry standards.
DESIGNING A GARDEN IS COMPLEX, AND IT REQUIRES IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE. FOR ME, ACCREDITATION IS THE BEST WAY TO ENSURE THIS J A M E S S C O T T, T H E G A R D E N C O M PA N Y
“Students can join the SGD as student members then, when qualified, transfer to pre-registered membership. During this period, they submit three real-life completed projects for adjudication, to ensure that they are fully competent and meeting professional standards. Adjudication clinics provide support and advice during this process, looking at client briefs, contract documentation, site analysis and surveys, plans, schedules, construction details, specifications and project management.” Construction is not always covered in
hat’s the difference between a garden designer and a landscape architect? No, that’s not the start of a bad joke; it’s a common question. After all, a garden designer and a landscape architect can both design domestic and commercial outdoor spaces. It’s qualifications which separate the two – you need to undertake a course in order to call yourself a ‘landscape architect’. Garden designers, on the other hand, need no formal qualifications to label themselves as such. But should this change? If so, what should this qualification include? And should top-up credits, such as CPD for landscape architects, be mandatory?
delivered in a way that meets the needs of the business, the customer and the particular role of the individual designer. “For example, in my role, staying up to date with product technology is essential so that I can properly advise clients on the best materials for their projects. This is a higher priority than learning about design software updates – but the latter can be hugely important to a member of my design team. Alongside these role-specific requirements, there are also industry trends and changes that affect all designers, such as biodiversity, sustainability and CDM regulations.” Whilst staying up-to-date and expanding their knowledge is beneficial to garden designers, John isn’t convinced it matters to most domestic clients. “Being able to clearly communicate your design intentions is vital, as is producing presentation work that is of a professional standard, which is where our courses come in. Would a client be overly
as much detail as it could be in courses though, says Holly. “There are many short courses that offer garden design training, but many of these are not sufficient to enable a start to a career in garden design. Many garden design courses focus on soft landscaping, but as complaints are on the rise and legislation is coming into force more on domestic projects, more training in hard landscaping installation, detailing construction, specifying and project management should be provided. “More is expected of garden designers, now more than ever, and they should be aware of contractual obligations and understand where they are liable if something were to go wrong or be installed incorrectly. Practical, onsite experience should be encouraged as this ensures realistic knowledge of exactly how the plan comes together and the potential pitfalls and adjustments required during the process.” John agrees that not all courses are preparing their students for when they finish college and become practicing garden designers, particularly when it comes to being profitable. “A large proportion of my students come out of design school expecting that they will soon be undertaking six to 10 good commissions a year. “While this may be true for a lucky few, the vast majority of newly qualified designers seem to be ill-prepared for the reality of getting themselves established and being able to rely on their new careers to pay the bills. From my own experience, I would have appreciated learning about utilising social media, how to develop an online presence, and what contractors really
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require from you, far more than perhaps the history of garden design.” ‘Educator’ status is only offered by the SGD to those providers which include start-up business guidance and marketing and client skills in their courses, explains Darryl. They must also provide opportunities for students to gain work experience and encourage students to enter shows and awards. As Darryl puts it, courses must “fulfil the criteria of providing comprehensive teaching and experience in all areas of garden design and are taught by tutors with professional experience”. This includes practical landscaping, typically taught by an experienced landscape contractor, and courses must provide a minimum of six site visits and four projects. The SGD also requires its members to undertake 25 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year. “These are logged on members pages on the SGD website and checked,” says Darryl. “They cover material and product updates, software training, skills and techniques, conferences and further structured learning. An emphasis on regular updates on best sustainable practice is essential. The SGD also provides a mentoring programme for pre-reg members.” CPD can offer a number of benefits, says James, but it needs to be relevant. “In broad terms, by engaging in CPD, we designers ensure that our theoretical and practical learning do not become outdated or obsolete. However, I don’t think we can generalise too much about the content of any CPD activity. For it to be truly effective, the learning needs to be planned and
A QUALIFICATION GIVES A CLIENT ASSURANCE THAT A DESIGNER HAS LEARNT THE NECESSARY SKILLS FOR THE JOB, WHILE FULL SGD MEMBERSHIP IS A MARK THAT THE DESIGNER WORKS TO THE HIGHEST INDUSTRY STANDARDS DARRYL MOORE, GARDEN DESIGNER (REPORTS TO S G D C O U N C I L O N E D U C AT I O N )
bothered if the designer held an official document to say they’d spent three days studying with me? I’d suggest probably not. The only things they’re really interested in is whether or not they like the designers’ work, whether they feel they could work with them as a person, and whether they capable of creating a garden that meets their brief for the budget they have.” The quality of the work, as well as industry accreditations and awards, appear to be more important than qualifications when it comes to being a garden designer. But construction knowledge is seemingly vital, and all garden designers should seek this, regardless of the letters after their name.
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*Paysalia/Rocalia 2019 figures.
Paysalia, the landscaping sector’s benchmark trade show, returns to Lyon once more from 30th November to 2nd December, 2021. The event’s seventh edition will welcome stakeholders from all activity areas (landscapers, designers, architects, suppliers, local authorities and community interest groups). The 2019 edition saw 741 exhibitors and almost 30,000 visitors*. In 2021, the trade show presses forward with its ambition to be a key tool for all those involved in the sector, a chance to meet others, develop their business and trade ideas with their peers. We are witnessing major changes in the perception of green spaces and their use, for both the provider and the individual, and the landscaping sector must keep pace with these new issues. To offer the best possible assistance to professionals during this transition period and to address all their needs and expectations, Paysalia gives pride of place to today’s hot topics:
BIODIVERSITY Biodiversity is one of current society’s core issues and is wholly reliant on plants, both as a living structure and as a refuge for wildlife. The trade show assists professionals in this cause by presenting concrete solutions for chemical-free maintenance, alternative management of green spaces, planting of town centres, and all the other environmental concerns.
NEW MARKETS TO PENETRATE © NicolasRodet
The French government’s 2020 economic restart plan stimulates and facilitates certain markets that have a landscaping factor, like reafforestation or ecological engineering. In-city farming, interior landscaping, and living walls give citizens new aspirations that outlive those of a passing fancy. Paysalia 2021 will examine these trends and bring professionals solutions to help them penetrate the new markets.
EXPERTISE IN THE TRADE
Paysalia, in conjunction with Unep, sets out to assist all stakeholders in each of these issues so that they can stand together in readiness for the sector’s future.
Hop on the bus! Ask for your badge from end of August, 2021 on www.paysalia.com with the code PPGEN
BA D G E
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Whether it involves reappraising the fundamentals of the trade, tackling biodiversity issues, or adopting emergent innovations, the sector is evolving along with its trades and expertise. Basic and improver training, recruitment, apprenticeship facilities—Paysalia will be putting the spotlight on jobs and training in an area dedicated to encounters.
CONTACT : +33 (0)4 78 176 324 email@example.com In co-production with
WITH THE SUPPORT OF
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T R A I N I N G STA F F TO I M P R OV E T H E I R S K I L L S I S N O D O U B T V I TA L TO J O B S U C C E S S , B U T C O U L D E M P LOY E R S B E E X P LO R I N G M O R E E X T R AC U R R I C U L A R T R A I N I N G TO B E N E F I T T H E E M P LOY E E A N D B U S I N E S S E V E N F U R T H E R ?
he clue is in the name. Extracurricular staff training is all about training your employees in ways which aren’t necessarily directly related to their job role, though benefits will transfer. It adds to an employee’s skillset and, ultimately, improves their individual performance. So, as an employer, you could see increased productivity and better staff retention, allowing you to hold on to your star players. But what exactly is out there? The company and preferred outcome determine the type of training. We spoke to some of the largest grounds maintenance companies in the UK to find out more about the type of extracurricular training they offer to their staff and why.
WE’VE DEVELOPED MODULES TO HELP OUR COLLEAGUES MANAGE STRESS AND MAINTAIN HEALTHY LIFESTYLES TIM HOWELL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, MITIE LANDSCAPES
Nationwide facilities management company Mitie believes it is crucial to supply training which allows employees’ career paths to change or to take any shape. By creating short courses and modules, Mitie aims to help staff “develop transferrable skills to support them as they build the right career path for them. This can be anything from managing business finances and writing reports through to communication and leadership,” says Tim Howell, Mitie Landscapes’ managing director. However, it’s not just about skill development. “The pandemic has affected people in different ways, so supporting staff’s
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health and wellbeing is even more important. We’ve developed modules to help our colleagues manage stress and maintain healthy lifestyles, to name a few,” continues Tim. “We have also introduced Mental Health First Aid training so colleagues can support each other as they learn about mental health and develop the skills needed to become part of our company-wide network for people experiencing mental health issues. “By offering health and wellbeing courses, we’ve also been able to provide some of the support our colleagues need during these particularly challenging times. Through our Mental Health First Aid courses we have delivered 2,300 hours of training. And, in the last 12 months, we’ve had people access the virtual wellbeing modules over 10,000 times.” By providing the right tools for extracurricular training, Tim explains that the business has been able to benefit. Staff are able to share their experience and expertise across other areas of Mitie, which is perfect for their own career development, and customers are fully supported too. “As the environment and business’ priorities change, so do the skills our colleagues need to ensure we continue delivering great services for our clients. And that’s why we’re continuously
rolling out new courses to help our people develop new skills which they can use to progress their careers.”
WE HAVE ALSO INTRODUCED MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING SO COLLEAGUES CAN SUPPORT EACH OTHER AS THEY LEARN ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH TIM HOWELL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, MITIE LANDSCAPES
At green service provider idverde, there is a huge focus on employee’s passions. The company provides a wide range of extracurricular training that situates around recognising what is important to staff – biodiversity and sustainability. This includes ecology, good practice, and the law
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around wild animals such as badgers, nesting birds and great crested newts, biodiversity awareness and principles of specific landscape management (e.g. ponds, hedgerows and meadows), and even use of sustainable technology. In response, this training has helped enhance and develop staff’s general industry knowledge, whilst recognising their environmental passions too.
WE HAVE SEEN INCREASED ENGAGEMENT WITH ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AS THEY PERTAIN TO INDIVIDUALS’ JOB ROLES J O H N P E M B E R T O N , C O N S E R V AT I O N A N D E D U C AT I O N D E V E L O P M E N T M A N A G E R AT I D V E R D E
Since providing this training, idverde has experienced numerous benefits. John Pemberton, conservation and education development manager at idverde, said: “We have seen increased engagement with environmental issues as they pertain to individual job roles; operational colleagues ask more questions about the nature of their work and identify potential for improvements for biodiversity. Furthermore, idverde has noticed they have been able to add wider benefits and value to our clients and landscapes. “Feedback from the training sessions is positive, particularly regarding online course delivery. Operational colleagues are better equipped to deal with enquiries from members of the public and clients when asked about the actions being taken on site. Operational staff
124 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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being challenged by the public in regard to grounds maintenance work appears to be on the rise, particularly during campaigns like ‘No Mow May’ and bird nesting season. “We also believe that more positive interventions are being made on a daily basis for nature. For example, colleagues routinely check vegetation prior to commencing strimming to ensure that hedgehogs, reptiles and amphibians have moved off before commencing work.” idverde is continuously developing and focusing on its biodiversity training to suit its staff’s needs. John elaborates: “We intend to develop existing courses into a more interactive online training courses and we will shortly be commencing with training related to tree disease, particularly ash dieback and developing internal training on the concept of nature friendly verge management.” It seems Mitie and idverde, at least, have been able to benefit from providing extracurricular training to staff. Whilst the training provided has not necessarily been crucial to a role, the employees’ and business enhancements as a result are apparent. idverde biodiversity training provides benefits for not
only the employees’, but for the clients, environment and community too. And Mitie’s supportive approach towards helping staff
OPERATIONAL COLLEAGUES ARE BETTER EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH ENQUIRIES FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND CLIENTS J O H N P E M B E R T O N , C O N S E R V AT I O N A N D E D U C AT I O N D E V E L O P M E N T M A N A G E R AT I D V E R D E
strengthen their skillset works as a crucial method in retaining, developing and utilising its own employees.
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M AT E R I A L S F O C U S
omposite decking is the fastestgrowing timber decking alternative currently available on the market. Although traditional timber decking has been the preferred choice of many for years, it’s a high maintenance product which requires annual painting and staining. Composite decking is a simple and sustainable alternative with a unique formula that produces a highquality finished product that does not rot, splinter or decay.
COMPOSITE DECKING IS A SIMPLE AND SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE WITH A UNIQUE FORMULA THAT PRODUCES A HIGH-QUALITY FINISHED PRODUCT THAT DOES NOT ROT, SPLINTER OR DECAY
D EC K I N G
CHARLES TAYLOR, SALES DIRECTOR AT COMPOSITE PRIME, EXPLAINS HOW THE TIMBER DECKING ALTERNATIVE IS MADE AND ITS BENEFITS
Each square metre of Composite Prime’s decking contains the equivalent of more than 3,000 plastic bottle caps or 280 plastic bottles and in the six years of operation the brand has saved an equivalent of 151 million plastic milk bottles from Composite Prime’s HD Deck Dual decking entering landfills. product has a reversible two-colour option on Another key benefit of many each board and offers landscaping professionals composite products is the ease at which the the opportunity to lay a deck with contrasting decking can be installed. colours to create unique Whilst traditional timber finishes and patterns. decking options can often It is the ideal product to be laborious, requiring shape outdoor living spaces specialist tools, Composite as its versatility in colour and Prime decking includes texture allows homeowners • Environmentally friendly a sophisticated clip system to create completely – made using FSC® wood which is incredibly easy to bespoke designs, tailored flour and recycled plastic fix and avoids unsightly to outdoor living areas and • Durable – does not warp, screws. The clips are unique personal requirements. bend, splinter or decay in their design allowing both Making sustainable • Low maintenance – requires adjacent and end boards to choices when it comes to no painting, staining or treating be fixed with one single clip. developing and designing • Anti-fungal – naturally There is also an gardens is crucial to combat resistant to mould and fungus abundance of safety aspects the growing crisis around • Slip resistant – safe in wet to Composite Prime decking waste products. Composite and dry conditions • Easy to install – includes which attracts homeowners Prime’s products are made a sophisticated clip system to the material; these include by combining FSC® 100% • Natural aesthetics – fire ratings, slip resistance hardwood flour, a waste wood content gives and no-splintering. A capped product of hardwood a natural look and feel layer to the decking also production, and recycled • Versatility – colour options increases protection against plastic. The wooden fibres provide bespoke patterns fading, staining and other and plastic shavings are and finishes potentially damaging combined with colour elements, making the ideal pigments before being option for high traffic, family outdoor living. heated and extruded. The plastic content gives When selecting decking materials for the boards a long lifespan without the need to a landscaping project, composites are an ideal treat or seal the decking.
MAIN BENEFITS OF COMPOSITE DECKING
126 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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solution due to their durable properties. They are naturally resistant to mould and fungus, require no staining, treating or painting and will not warp, bend or splinter like traditional timber decking products are known to do. Many homeowners are caught out and underestimate the maintenance a conventional timber deck needs, but composite deck boards require far less upkeep and are widely available in wood tones for those wanting to recreate timber with the added benefits of composite.
ABOUT COMPOSITE PRIME Founded in 2014 by Domenic Harrison and Charles Taylor, Composite Prime is one of the UK’s leading brands of sustainable composite decking. Based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, its unique formula of wood/ plastic decking is manufactured from FSC 100% certified quality oak wood fiber and recycled plastics. www.composite-prime.com
RESIDENTIAL BACK GARDEN, YORK
A family of five transformed their tiny, unusable back garden into a stunning outdoor living space using composite decking. Sera Sekerci from York installed Composite Prime’s HD Deck 150 in silver after she was left with an impractical outdoor space, following an extension to her family home. The beautiful outdoor area, which can now be used to entertain friends and family year-round, includes a modern dining table set at the far side of the garden under a tree and lighting and soft furnishings have been placed above Composite Prime’s attractive and low maintenance decking. Sera said: “We absolutely knew we had to have composite decking due its supreme durability and sustainability credentials, which were very important to us as we looked to create a garden that not only looked visually appealing but was also kind to the environment.” The product is made using FSC® 100% hardwood flour and recycled plastic which combines to produce a natural-looking decking product that outperforms traditional treated timber and requires minimum upkeep. Commenting on her choice of decking, Sera said: “We requested samples from six different companies as quality and a natural appearance that matched the interior of our house were very important to us. As a family with three children, we also wanted an area that was safe and could be used year-round. “The deck itself is slip-proof and doesn’t rot or splinter so it’s the perfect solution for family living. When we’re not hosting dinner parties on the decking, it is extra space for the children to enjoy playing outdoors – mess and mud-free!”
Materials Focus.indd 127
Photographs @rugrats.and.renovation on Instagram
CAS E ST U DY
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 127
For full details on all jobs, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk Call 01903 777 570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your vacancy.
HARD LANDSCAPE MANAGER CAMERON GARDENS Location: London
An exciting new opportunity has opened for a hard landscape manager to join a well-established and dynamic team at Cameron. Based in Notting Hill, Cameron is a successful domestic and commercial garden design, build and maintenance company. Experience in construction and landscape gardening is essential. This position offers the right candidate a fantastic opportunity to work on some top end and innovative garden design. This role bridges the gap between the office/design team and the onsite teams. It will require exceptional organisational skills and onsite management to ensure domestic projects are profitable and run to time.
CONTRACT MANAGER, GROUNDS MAINTENANCE GROUND CONTROL Location: Somerset
Are you a driven area or contract manager in grounds maintenance with solid experience in managing commercial grounds maintenance work for large scale clients? Ground Control has a brand-new opportunity for an area manager to specifically support one of its prestigious national clients and their sites across the South West. You will be responsible for the management of its field teams and directly employed staff working for this specific client. This is a critical success factor to delivering grounds maintenance work on-time to the specified standard.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
Small professional gardening business Sophora Gardens is recruiting a gardener based in Southeast London to help with garden maintenance for its customers in Dulwich and the surrounding area. All jobs are in private properties with manicured gardens. The ideal candidate must be polite and reliable, must have an eye to details, a love for plants and a positive attitude. Self-employment is essential. A driving licence is a benefit but not essential. Sophora Gardens mostly works seven hours per day from Monday to Friday, with the day starting at 9am and finishing at 4pm.
Liverpool Streetscene Services is seeking to recruit a tree surveyor who will provide a professional arboricultural service in respect of the management of Liverpool City Council’s tree stock with the aim of fulfilling the council’s statutory duties and conserving and enhancing the tree stock asset value. The successful candidate will undertake a programme of proactive tree condition assessments of Liverpool City Councils tree stock and manage the trees individual management plan. You will be required to undertake inspections within a defined geographical location with the flexibility to undertake tree survey works city-wide when required.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
SENIOR LANDSCAPE FOREMAN
This is an exciting role within the Lush Landscapes team. It is looking for soft and hard landscapers with previous hands-on experience. The job role is varied and includes high end landscaping on projects throughout Surrey, Hampshire, West London and the South East. Plant knowledge is preferred but not essential. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, understanding project information and specifications for all new projects, implementing health and safety at all times and maintaining quality of work to a high standard. The candidate must have good communication skills and be a team player. A full UK driving license is a must.
A position has become available for a full-time senior landscape foreman to work on some amazing projects throughout the South West, working mainly in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Wiltshire. The successful candidate will earn £28,000 to £34,000 per annum. A minimum of five years’ experience in hard/soft landscaping is required and applicants must be proficient in the use of landscape machinery. Experience in running a site, including organising staff and material supply, is essential, as is a clean driving license and a professional attitude. Applicants should be commercial aware and able to conclude projects on time and to budget.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
Greenhaven Group Limited is a Dorset-based landscaping company that specialises in creating stunning contemporary garden designs and landscaping developments in Dorset and the South West of England. An exciting position has become available for a full-time landscaper to work on some amazing projects throughout the South West, working mainly in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Wiltshire. The successful candidate will earn £23,000 to £28,000 per annum. Responsibilities of the role include: planting of designed schemes; pruning, tying in and training climbers; maintaining lawns including spring/autumn renovations; and keeping on top of pests and diseases.
Greenhaven Group Limited has an exciting opportunity available for a full-time general horticulturalist. The successful candidate will earn £23,000 to £28,000 per annum. A minimum of five years’ experience in landscaping/garden maintenance is required, particularly experience in maintaining stunning gardens and planting schemes. Applicants should be honest and reliable, have a professional attitude and the ability to manage their time, and work to very high standards. PA1 and PA6 spraying certifications are required, as is a cleaning driving license. Applicants should be proficient in the use of horticultural machinery.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
SOPHORA GARDENS Location: London
LUSH DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION LTD Location: Surrey
GREENHAVEN LANDSCAPES Location: Dorset
128 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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LIVERPOOL STREETSCENE SERVICES LTD Location: Nationwide
GREENHAVEN LANDSCAPES Location: Dorset
GREENHAVEN LANDSCAPES Location: Dorset
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T H E L I T T L E I N T E RV I E W
PRO LANDSCAPER ASKS QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS TO GAIN A SMALL INSIGHT INTO THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE UP OUR INDUSTRY. TO TAKE PART, EMAIL CONTENT@ EL JAYS44.COM
130 Pro Landscaper / September 2021
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Associate director – landscape, HLM Architects
Purchasing and product development manager, Green-tech
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Property renovation.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Maybe something in forestry, but ideally sitting on a beach somewhere.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Yes, some lovely detailing and good to see what plants are on trend. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Spain. What would you blow your budget on? Natural swimming pool. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Andy Sturgeon. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Getting more young people involved in horticulture and garden design. Newest gardening trend in your opinion? Naturalistic planting and wild/rustic materials. Couldn’t get through the week without… Coffee. (Iced coffee in the hot weather).
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Only if it is something unusual or new. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? USA – so many different landscapes with mountains, deserts, etc. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Compulsory bigger gardens on all housing developments. Newest gardening trend in your opinion? Corten steel. Best piece of trivia you know? Guinness estimates that 93,000L of beer are lost in facial hair each year in the UK alone. Role model as a child? Luke Skywalker. (My dad, really). Best invention in recent years? Smart phones.
Favourite tipple? Sloe gin, homemade and foraged sloe berries.
Favourite tipple? Craft IPAs.
What three things would you take to a desert island? My daughter, seeds and a hammock.
Who would play you in a movie of your life? Vic Reeves.
Karaoke song of choice? Sorry, none – it’s my worst nightmare!
Karaoke song of choice? ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe.
Garden designer, Anna Helps Garden Design
Regional director – south west, Glendale Services
Head gardener, Abbotswood House
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? A citrus fruit buyer in Spain.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Playing cricket for England.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Inspirational if the gardens are actually able to be maintained.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Inspirational but misunderstood by the public.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Absolutely.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? New Zealand as a landscape to explore, Californian gardens from a design perspective. What would you blow your budget on? A stylish, hidden plunge pool. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Kate Gould.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? New Zealand. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Education to develop the next generation. Best piece of trivia you know? The fuller the fridge, the more energy efficient it is. Role model as a child? Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Japan. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Cleve West. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Better pay and recognition for horticulture as a skilled, diverse industry. Couldn’t get through the week without… A hug from my kids. Best invention in recent years? Battery powered hedge cutters.
Best piece of trivia you know? More than 50,000 balls are used at Wimbledon each year.
Couldn’t get through the week without… My wife.
Couldn’t get through the week without… Salted almonds.
Best invention in recent years? Wireless headphones.
Your most used saying or cliché? “Life’s not fair, so crack on.”
Your most used saying or cliché? “How much?!”
Favourite tipple? An English sparkling wine.
What three things would you take to a desert island? Boat, BBQ and fishing rod.
What three things would you take to a desert island? My girlfriend, kids and some vegetable seeds.
Your favourite joke? A Roman legionnaire walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and says: “Five beers please”.
Your favourite joke? In a kitchen, a knife and spoon raced. Who won? Neither – they both ended in a draw.
Your favourite joke? What do you call a man with no shins? Toe knee.
Karaoke song of choice? ‘Daddy Cool’ by Boney M.
Karaoke song of choice? ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond.
Karaoke song of choice? ‘The Pot’ by TOOL.
Little Interviews (1).indd 131
Your most used saying or cliché? “It will grow back.” Favourite tipple? Cotswold gin and tonic or a pint of Cobra with a curry.
Pro Landscaper / September 2021 131
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