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Me & My Job - Colin Hambidge, gardening writer

Grow, 23 March 2012

Colin Hambidge, gardening writer - image: Colin Hambidge
Colin Hambidge, gardening writer - image: Colin Hambidge

How did you get started in the industry? I was the very first employee of Mr Fothergill's Seeds in 1978. I'd always enjoyed gardening so I jumped at the chance to join this new company as a management trainee. It grew rapidly and I had seven happy years there before moving to Unwins, where I spent nearly 20 years.

- What advice would you give to others starting out? People tend to stay in horticulture for the long term so contacts made early in a career can produce unexpected benefits many years ahead. Learning and remembering as many botanical names as possible is also very useful. I knew my Latin A level would come in handy one day.

- What is the best aspect of your job? It still gives me a thrill to see news stories in print that I originated. I also enjoy the day-to-day contact with other journalists.

- And the worst? I'm a very early riser all week, so it galls me a little to be up just as early on a Saturday and Sunday, scanning the national and some provincial dailies to produce a report for clients on what gardening correspondents are writing about. I've done this for years, so it's part of my life, but I would rather be gardening.

- How do you wind down after a hard day at work? Taking our dogs for a walk through Ickworth Park and enjoying a landscape that has changed little in centuries, then sitting down in front of a murder mystery or thriller, the plot of which always has to be explained to me.

- What does the future hold? I am very fortunate because my working life has always been linked to my hobbies. I made a false start as a horse racing journalist, but I would love to write a biography of a racing personality. In the meantime, I've been a garden writer for the Birmingham Post for several years and would like to extend my journalistic output.

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