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Me & My Job - Michael Buck, show plant manager, Hortus Loci

Grow, 25 September 2015

Michael Buck, show plant manager, Hortus Loci - image: Hortus Loci
Michael Buck, show plant manager, Hortus Loci - image: Hortus Loci

How did you get started in the industry? I wanted to work outside and avoid being stuck at a desk so I went to work for a landscaping firm. It was the perfect place for me to discover my passion for plants and horticulture. I applied for a job at Whitewater Plant Centre five years ago but I left to have a go at becoming a professional footballer. Two years ago I visited the nursery to buy some heucheras and found it completely changed. It had a new name, Hortus Loci, and felt completely different. I knew I wanted to rejoin this new company on the spot.
What advice would you give to others starting out? Don’t be put off by other people’s plant knowledge. Learn at every opportunity and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

What does your typical day involve? It’s a 7am start, walking the 16-acre nursery working out which jobs to prioritise and checking the health of our trees, shrubs and perennial stock. I spend the rest of the day balancing my various tasks such as showing designers and landscapers around the nursery, spraying our stock and picking orders.

What is the best aspect of your job? Growing plants for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The build-up is a hectic time but seeing the gardens go up makes all the work worth it.

And the worst? Weeding. It’s alright in small doses but when you have a batch of 1,000 grasses and they are all going to a job the following day, you need lots of coffee and chocolate to get you through.

What have you been working on recently? Mark Straver and I have just got back from a trip to Sweden to discuss new projects with garden designer Ulf Nordfjell. We are also meeting with our 2016 Chelsea designers.

What has been your biggest achievement at work? Chelsea and Hampton Court in 2014. I was very new to the business but we ended up being part of several gold medal-winning gardens.

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