Alberto – Gardening for Growth

I had decided something in my life needed to change otherwise in another 10 years I’d find myself in the same job or similar, doing the same thing that didn’t enthral me for the past 10 years, this is my one life.

I took a break, and tried to figure out what it was I wanted, I had studied landscape architecture at university, however only completed 2 years of a 5 year course, then I’d gone into a career where making money was the goal and sure enough I was good at that, but what good is money when you don’t enjoy most of life to obtain it.

I looked for a new role, more than that, something that would fulfil me, that would make me want to go to work and fill me full of joy, I settled on gardening, even though after spending 10 years in a warm office, I did wonder how I would cope with the rain wind and water that would be thrown my way. I had made a conscience decision to stop chasing money and to chase passion and happiness. I wanted to work on a large estate, and almost by fate the second job I applied for, I got exactly that.


The interview, was the most spectacular interview I’ve ever had, and the most excited I’ve ever been for an any job, I walked around the beautiful Cheshire estate jumping up and down inside my own head shouting I want this! The head gardener showing me around using latin names of the beautiful plants, and I having no idea what any of the plants were but being so enthralled by the visit/interview, every turn something more spectacular, every turn I wanted this more and more.


I got it… by some miracle. It was a casual job, meaning I would only be working for the Summer.

I worked physically harder than I have ever worked in my life, to start with I had to go to sleep at 8pm just to cope with the work.

Every day was a learning day, and every day my mind would be fed and my body worked, the thought that I was making my small impact on a garden of this magnitude knowing that some of the things I would contribute to or plant would be there long after I was gone was incredible.

Being outside in what I can only describe as a paradise does wonders, I feel so much healthier, the sun the air, the green filled something that I don’t think I even knew needed to be.

Working with experts in the field is an absolute joy, and to start with I felt almost like I was back at school but allowed to do my favourite subject constantly, the days just run away.

Having knowledge of growing vegetables and eating them ever since I can remember I was able to work in my favourite part of the garden, the kitchen garden.


Nine months on, no longer was I a casual but full time! The absolute best head gardener I could have ever asked for had to leave, but before he did, he made good on his word and set me on a path to manage my absolute favourite area the walled Kitchen garden and luckily for me he placed me in charge. So I was now entrusted with the care for not only that but the a herb garden, cut flower garden and the jewel in the estates crown, of the four main herbaceous borders.

When I was given this incredible task, I was filled with excitement but also with absolute dread, however this is where ‘transferable skills’ really came into play. Having been a manager previously, I am organised, and that I found to be one of the most important skills needed in this job, as well as a keen and judgmental eye, a decent level of plant knowledge but more important of all the passion and excitement and willingness to learn.

I love every minute of my work, even in the rain wind and when wet, I wouldn’t change a thing. My Gardening for Growth adventure has only just begun and I am keen to share my inspirational story with you.

Got a Gardening Story to Share,

Perhaps Alberto’s story has inspired you’d and like to Grow with us? Send us a sample of your story to [email protected]



Stephen Pryce-Lea

Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consulatant




“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.


Please follow and like us:
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”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply