As soon as we met Victoria, we knew she was a perfect fit for us and our clients.
Originally from Ireland, Victoria followed her heart and settled with her husband Richard in Rothesay Bay a couple of years ago.
She is from a family who loves to garden...
"Both sets of my grandparents were gardeners, one garden had clipped hedges, stunning hydrangeas, roses and colourful annuals, the other was a productive small holding, a little wild but very pretty with chickens, dogs and us crazy kids running around trying to steal peas, blackcurrants, gooseberries, spoiling our Sunday lunch! I’m sure my brother and I were handed a trowel and told to help and I can remember being fascinated by my Uncle growing Chrysanthemums in a darkened shed to get them flowering for Christmas, he’s still doing it forty years on, oh and my granddads gorgeous tomatoes, I still have fond memories of their smell as I entered his greenhouse. But gardening was just was one of those things old people did, so when I was younger it didn’t really sing out as something I wanted to do."
Victoria attended horticultural college in England and whilst studying, she got a call from her old employer, James Dyson (of vacuum fame), who had just bought a beautiful but quite run down Country Estate. She was given the opportunity to help him transform the garden. She says it was the best gardening experience she could have ever asked for.
"It’s amazing how fast you learn when you have hundreds of acres to look after and more and more to be planted. Plus with an unlimited budget and owners that were up for anything, as long as it was grander than Prince Charles - (a close neighbour) I was in gardening heaven!"
She eventually decided it was time to leave England and move back to Northern Ireland, and again she found another beautiful country estate that was having a bit of an overhaul. Victoria spent another couple of years there developing gardens, setting up polytunnels, productive greenhouses and cutting gardens.
"I really do have to pinch myself sometimes. I can safely say that when I look back and think about all the beautiful planting, growing and cutting that I have done over the past 15 years I have been one very lucky gardener. And still everyday I learn something new. Horticulture is such an amazing subject - you can never know it all, there’s always something mother nature hasn’t shown you yet! It’s amazing."
We asked Victoria to share her top gardening tips with us:
"There are so many gardening tips and they are all as important as the next one, but for me, if you get these fundamentals right, your garden will look amazing:
Soil - whatever you do, ensure your soil is as weed free as possible, has good structure i.e. not to clayey or not too sandy, you want to ensure that you mix in as much organic matter as required to make it friable and full of nutrients. As they say, feed the soil, not the plant and it is so true. A good layer of organic matter e.g. mushroom compost, compost mix, horse manure, pea straw (learnt that one today) works so well. Mulch over the top in the autumn / winter and dig it it early spring before planting.
Right plant, right place - different plants thrive in different planting situations, some love deep shade, some love full on sun and some with tolerate a bit of both. Some like to be dry at the roots and others can sit in wet conditions for weeks / months. If you give your plants their preferred situation they will reward you with beautiful, strong healthy growth. Plant them where you want them to go but where they aren’t going to be happy and you will end up with a sick, disease prone straggly plant, that will be more of an eyesore than a masterpiece.
Know you plant - it takes 5 minutes to look it up, all plants are so different, not just where you plant them but how and when you feed or prune them. Getting this right will pay dividends.
Be vigilant - get out into the garden and down into your plants, have a chat with them. By doing this you are more likely to spot pest, disease and other disorders quickly. The sooner you spot them, the sooner you can treat them and the less impact they are going to have on the plant and the rest of your garden. A 10 minute walk and chat every week can work wonders on unwanted problems."
Thank you Victoria! We are so blessed that Victoria now works with us and our sparkly gardeners in all the beautiful gardens we care for around the North Shore. She brings to the team her amazing horticultural knowledge, sparkling personality and is such a lovely person to work alongside.
To have Victoria work in your garden, send us an email. We would love to introduce you.