My parents were not overly happy when I left school after a year of A levels at the age of seventeen. I say it was the best thing I ever did! Working in gardens of south Manchester for a couple of years gave me an early insight into running my own business before going to college to learn about plants and gardens. Thirty years later I returned to a very different self employed role in a very different part of the country. I feel both lucky and privileged to have worked and studied in gardens in the UK and overseas meeting some amazing people, encountered spectacular plants and landscapes and had some very special times.