Britain in Bloom judging is happening over the next 2 weeks with the judges working in teams of 2 and visiting the 76 finalists. So let’s meet the teams!
John’s horticultural interests began by growing cacti and succulents in a small garden greenhouse. Thinking it would be a good idea to turn a hobby into a career, he started at Long Ashton Research Station working in the fruit plantations. After training at Pershore, John returned to Bristol, working in the University Botanic Garden and for the Parks Department.
A move to Guernsey to take up a job with the Island’s Horticultural Advisory Service was expected to be a career move, but John fell in love with the Island and stayed on, becoming Senior Advisory Officer and eventually Head of Service until his retirement.
He now runs a consultancy business for glasshouse growers, but also enjoys designing and advising on gardens, especially if there is an opportunity for some hands-on work. A regular contributor on gardening topics for the local radio, John also leads gardening classes for the WEA. John has been involved for several years with the Floral Guernsey Council and is Vice Chairman. He is also a director of Grow Ltd, which is a sheltered workshop providing basic horticultural training and support for people with learning difficulties.
OTHER: John’s favourite flower is a single rose as it’s ‘simple and perfect.’ His garden is a wonderful spread of colour that he feels is RHS Gold standard! John begins each morning with a snail hunt in the garden. He is a big fan of wine, and loves a glass of Chateau Neuf Du Pape
Mel started his career with an apprenticeship at a nursery/garden centre moving on to study at Pershore for the RHS Master of Horticulture. He has worked in several sectors of amenity horticulture and now for more than 20 years in local government where he has developed a passion for Britain in Bloom, seeing this as one of the most effective ways to engage local communities to improve the environment and the services he has managed.
Mel has had a leading role in partnership with the strong teams at Oxford, Nottingham, and Buxton that gained success at Regional, National and Entente Florale competition levels.
Working now at Tunbridge Wells he manages a portfolio of services that link to the “Bloom Campaigns” including Parks, street care and recycling. He is a member of the Green Flag Advisory Board and a Green Flag Judge for 10 years.
As a Regional Judge of 10 years experience in 2 regions, he has gained experience of both sides of the “Bloom”. He is delighted to now be a part of the National Judging Team seeing it as an opportunity to “give something back”.