What inspired you to become involved in horticulture?
It was my mother that really got me into it. My siblings and I spent a lot of time outside on riverbanks, in woods and climbing trees. I was the geeky child who could tell you what a tree was by the shape of it, even in winter! I had a sink that I kept frogs and toads in too. I went on to do Agriculture at University then got my first job at Beechgrove and it all grew from there.
What have been the highlights for you over your career?
Highlights for me are really based around seeing other people get enjoyment from plants and nature. Greens space makes such a difference to peoples lives. Plants and flowers can evoke memories and make people light up. One of my particular memories is a visit to Cornton Vale prison. I saw firsthand, the joy and pride that the garden there brought to female prisoners who had little hope. But outside, in nature, they found a sense of pleasure and purpose.
Most recently, being awarded the Pearson Memorial Medal for services to horticulture, was such a proud moment. I was quite, and still am, quite overwhelmed!
Top tips for sustainability?
Don’t try to do too much! Start small. And work with nature, not against it. Once you understand your outdoor space and what it needs you can work more sustainably.
What’s your vision for the Scottish horticulture?
To embrace the challenge of reducing our carbon footprint. Lets pick up where we left off 100 years ago and get back to local growth and supply while working within the confines of our climate. I’d like to see a robust future for employment within horticulture across Scotland and beyond.