Grow with Love and Cherish Life’s Most Precious Things

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I have never been interested in material things and whilst I haven’t gone without anything in life, I have usually put my research skills to good use and found a way to afford, make or grow just what I need. Lately, my efficiency is drawn towards propagation and growing as many plants as possible from seed.

If I had to choose my most precious things in life, my seed collection and my garden book collection would have been near the top of my list. However, since relocating to the USA for the next exciting part of my gardening journey, I find myself book-less and hoarding seeds like a hibernating dormouse.

Seeds are indeed amazing they are all different shapes, sizes and colors, either propelled by the elements, wildlife or insects. They have their own built-in devices that sense the changes in the soil temperature, the warming Winter rays alerting the swelling seeds of better weather to come. Much like dormant bulbs, some choosing to brave the winter snows and other like the Tulip preferring to wait for Spring warmth.

Today in Sunny but bitterly cold Philadelphia, my horizon dotted with city centre skyscrapers and criss-cross streets of row homes, I have been blessed with a parcel sent from the rolling hillside of Mid Wales. Not so special or unusual to receive a parcel from Home, except that my box of goodies was packed full of beautiful cultivated Welsh Snowdrops from my Mom’s hillside Chapel garden.

Our small yard is looking very sad, grey and quite solemn, the vine whilst sculptured show’s no sign of life other than the few sparrows that use it as a launch pad as they brave the chilling winds. The only sour cherry tree in the neighborhood is almost 30 years old and was smuggled a sapling into the country by a rather persistent Polish grandmother who wanted Polish cherries in the Port. How’s that for forwarding planning? Needless to say, the cherry has flourished and fruited heavily for many years, it branches is weighed down with fruit every year, so much that we freely share the fruit amongst our neighbors for cordial, summer ices and even a few sour cherry pies.

I am blessed to have a blank canvas and some supportive neighbours who are keen to share their gardens with a self-confessed plant-aholic. I thrive on engaging others to grow through gardening, leading by example and offering support, the tools and the motivation to re-evaluate a meaningfulness in life.

My Nan used to say to me that with age grows grace and a wealth of knowledge, that only comes from experience!

I was a mere teenager and could not possibly grasp what she meant. Sadly she passed away before I was able to ask her and often I will think about what our relationship would be like if she was sat by my side. Reminding myself that throughout my life I have been blessed with mentors and thought provokers that have guided me to grow as a person, challenge myself, think deeply, calculate, work hard and Love to cherish life’s simple yet most precious things.

Grow with Love and Cherish Life’s Most Precious Things


Stephen Pryce-Lea

Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consultant




“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“

iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.



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About Head Gardener 291 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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