In Conversation with Jane Porter
We'd love to introduce you Garden Designer and Consultant, Jane Porter. Based in Bristol, Jane gave up her office job to become a gardener, and has never looked back! Winning two Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, Jane has the ability to turn every outdoor space into something beautiful. Read on to learn more about Jane.
How and when did you get into gardening?
In 2015 we moved into a house that had belonged to a very experienced gardener. At the same time I’d been made redundant from my job as an Arts Producer. I started taking an interest in the plants so I did a short course at our local city farm which I absolutely loved. From there I signed up for the RHS level 2 course. Meanwhile I had started a job that I really wasn’t enjoying. After the course a friend posted on Facebook that she wanted a garden makeover but had hardly any budget. I asked her if she’d let me have a go. From then on more people kept asking me to do their gardens until finally I had enough work lined up for me to leave my job and take the leap! I’ve never looked back.
What is your favourite thing about being out in nature and giving consultations?
So many things. I am always happiest outdoors. I trained as an outdoor instructor in my early 20s and for me working physically outside reminds me of that time. Even in the worst weather I remember how I felt in my office job and the weather suddenly doesn’t matter! I also enjoy being more in touch with everything around me. I now see all the detail around me when we go for walks, I’m more aware of changes in the weather and I learn something new about plants nearly every day. My favourite thing about consultations is how happy it makes people. Almost all the sessions end with people saying how energised, excited and enthused they feel about the changes they are going to make.
How does it feel to spend time creating outside all the time?
A lot of the design work I do is desk based but my favourite part of the job is the planting and working outdoors. By creating a garden that really works for the people who live there I feel like my work really becomes part of people’s day to day lives. I like that my work encourages people to spend more time outdoors.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about having a go at planting some seeds?
I would say try some really easy ones just to get the hang of it. If you have too many it can be overwhelming if they all require different conditions so just choose a manageable range. Make sure you follow the instructions, follow the timings and grow what you have space for – I always break this rule! One specific tip: sow Sweet Peas on Boxing Day.
Discover our Grow collection here