This is the second part of my feature on the gardener Toby Buckland. Toby started gardening after leaving school, working as a pinks and roses nurseryman at Whetman’s Pinks Nursery in Devon. He then trained at Bicton College, Hadlow College and Cambridge University’s Botanic Garden where he subsequently worked as a woodland supervisor. He has presented a variety of TV programmes including Gardeners’ World, writes for a host of publications and is the author of 5 books. In 2008 he won an RHS Gold medal and Best in Show for his Ethical Garden at Gardeners’ World Live. As he embarks on his latest project – his new online plant nursery he kindly took the time to answer a few of my questions.
- What is your first gardening memory? – Gardening with my Uncle Bob. He took me down to the beach where I live to collect seaweed and put under the potatoes – it keeps off slugs. I remember being amazed when we harvested them that I’d been involved in growing something.
- What tool couldn’t you be without? – If you’d asked me in summer it would have been the watering lance, it saves your back no end! But now, I’m quite attached to my Gerber knife – packing up parcels, cutting up string to tie up the bare roots – I use it all the time.
- What is your favourite meal to cook with produce from your garden?- Well, it depends on what time of year. Pumpkin fritters in Autumn, broad beans and bacon, I love making curries with the chillies. I used to be a terrible cook but now I do most of the cooking. I like the variety and experimentation.
- Which garden has seduced you? – Bagatelle in Paris – very seductive roses.
- What has been your biggest gardening success? – The Marines Garden at RM 45 Commando Arbroath. I was asked to design a memorial garden for the families to remember the fallen. We brought in large boulders from all over the globe, everywhere that 45 Commando had served since 1971 when 45 Commando moved to Arbroath. It opened on Remembrance Day, 11/11/11. The marines are amazing how they just get things done. They raised more than £200,000 to build it through their fundraising efforts such as running double marathons. I was very honoured to be involved.
- What has been your biggest gardening disaster? – Thinking I could open the doors of a garage whilst still driving a mower towards them, not a good idea. I was a reckless youth, and I did learn my lesson.
- Which gardening book will you be snuggling up with this winter? – Truthfully, I’m more likely to read a novel than a gardening book. I prefer doing the gardening to reading about it.
- Which garden in the world would you most like to visit? – Kyoto.
- What would be your dream garden project? – If I won the lottery and could have a 1000 acre landscape to play with that wouldn’t be bad!
- And finally . . . wellies or boots? – Boots definitely. I’m too hard on wellies – they always fall apart too quickly with all the digging. I live in rigger work boots that are easy to pull on and off when your hands are covered in mud.
Thanks to Toby. To read more about him and his new plant nursery go to his website http://www.tobybuckland.com/.