I met Jamie Butterworth at The Garden Media Awards in London last November. He’s clearly a bright enthusiastic young man; a great ambassador for the industry. As you know I am a great believer that we need to encourage young talent and promote horticulture as a career to be proud of. Jamie is just what we are looking for: new blood with a passion for plants. I invited Jamie to join me the year at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show to help me stage Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres exhibit on the Monument site at the heart of the Great Pavilion.
I am delighted that he accepted the challenge to work on the biggest exhibit at The World’s Greatest Flower Show. I invited him to share his thoughts on working at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013, and to tell us all a little about his experience to date. I am delighted to welcome him as my guest on the MyGardenSchool blog.
Jamie Butterworth on RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013:
In my opinion, RHS Chelsea flower show has to be the key date in every gardener’s diary. For one week, every year, gardeners and non gardeners alike are brought together to focus on the amazing world of horticulture. It has always been one of my biggest ambitions in life to be on a build at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, so to be able to be involved on the Hillier build is quite simply a dream come true. For me, Hillier epitomises The Chelsea Flower Show, and it is one of the most prestigious exhibits at the show, so to be able to be part of the Hillier team is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I feel honoured to be part of it. Furthermore, it is exceptionally special to be able to part of a build this year; as it is the Centenary year, it is set to be the biggest and best show ever, and I feel very lucky to be involved.
Ever since the age of 9, I have had a passion for horticulture. This first began after watching an episode of Gardener’s World which inspired me to get out in the garden and give it a go. This quite literally sowed the seeds of my obsession with plants and all things garden related; my passion has grown ever since. I feel that my enthusiasm for horticulture is contagious, and as such is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. For me, horticulture has become much more than just a hobby, it is my lifestyle, and influences my every day decisions.
At the age of 12, I spent my summer holidays redesigning my grandparents’ garden into an organic allotment where I could grow fruit and vegetables for my family. I still tend this allotment and use it to teach other family members the benefits of ‘growing your own’. Unlike most people my age, I am at my happiest on my allotment, whether it be weeding, propagating, or simply admiring the haven of wildlife which it attracts.
At the age of 16, in February 2012 I became a finalist on BBC3 television’s Young Gardener of the Year show; this programme showcased young talent in the horticultural industry. This was by far the best experience of my life to date, meeting many inspirational people who have greatly helped me grow my passion for horticulture, including Alex Denman (Chelsea Flower Show manager), and Chris Collins (Blue Peter Gardener).
In August 2011 I began working at First Impressions Nursery, a small nursery on the outskirts of Wakefield, Yorkshire, specialising in exterior plant displays. Working in a professional nursery and answering customers questions has greatly helped to increase my horticultural and plant knowledge. During my time there I have worked on various projects, including managing a two acre market garden; this taught me a lot about project management.
I am currently studying at Askham Bryan college in York, England on a level 3 extended diploma in General Horticulture. As part of this course I have been involved in various projects. These included show gardens at Harrogate Flower Show, where our course team won a Gold Medal and The Ideal Home Show, where we picked up a Silver Medal. This course finishes in July, but I have very recently been accepted onto the RHS Wisley Diploma in Practical Horticulture. I consider it a huge honour to be able to study and work at the RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey and cannot wait to start in September.
I consider myself as a plant fanatic; I am not sure what it is about them, but I find them all amazing. I struggle to think of any plants that I don't like, and as such, find it very difficult to select any particular `favourite` plants, whether it be shrubs or trees, annuals or perennials; I love them all. However, I do have a particular fondness for herbaceous perennials, especially plants such as Gaura `White Dove`, and Sedum `Autumn Joy`. I find these plants stunning and captivating, providing a long season of interest and look incredible in a herbaceous border, mixed with fuchsias, digitalis, salvias, ecinops, lupins, heucheras and echinaceas to name a few.
Andy McIndoe on RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013
I am really looking forward to working with Jamie Butterworth and the rest of the Hillier Chelsea Team on our exhibit Risk! For The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013. The team has around 25 members in total, some regulars, some first timers, some from the company, some guests. For me this is the really special aspect of Hillier at Chelsea: I believe this brings a dynamic energy and creativity to what we do. There are no preconceived ideas and no planting plan. The combination of experience and new ideas is a “risk” that I am very confident is worth taking!