I fell in love with plants in childhood – the first plant I bought was Chamaecereus something or other (it’s now classed as an Echinopsis). When it eventually flowered, I was amazed at its beauty, and began collecting all sorts of plants, wheedled from school friends, local nurseries, even surreptitious adrenalin-rush cuttings from Kew.
The obvious thing to do was to become a botanist. I couldn’t leave my collection, so read botany at nearby Reading University, then went up to Edinburgh to do a PhD, on the genus Muscari. In between looking at chromosomes, I managed a marvellously educative collecting trip to Greece, where I found out a bit about life, but not much about grape hyacinths.
Classical taxonomy being in decline, I went to Liverpool University to look at yet more chromosomes. That was something of a disaster, and I managed to get a job back in my beloved Edinburgh. My new post was as a taxonomist studying vegetable varieties. This was not especially interesting, and gardening somehow took over. I began restoring an urban Georgian garden (and its house), wrote a book on Georgian Gardens, sold the house, dumped the job, and bought a lovely but ruinous 17th century village house on the shores of the Firth of Forth at Belhaven.
I now currently garden in a tiny 18th century patch in a Borders village; the garden still has paths, seat, sundial and urns from the 1790’s. We added pools, and lots of new plants and plantings. I am still writing about gardens and gardening, photographing, and doing some very occasional advisory and design work.
More garden books and plant/garden apps for mobiles and tablets are in development…
I also have the opportunity to mooch about in a pretty little garden in London, and something very nice in Lincolnshire – see my blog for pictures – in a while. Must do some posting. So remiss…. lol