Mark Rice – Garden Architect
Dip GD (Inst. GD) Cert GD (H.C College); RHS General Exam Certificate
I started gardening when I was very young, helping my grandad in his garden, tending Roses, Dahlias, Chrysanthemums, and his precious tomatoes. I remember trimming the Aubrietia which grew so well over the path and being told off for giving the Roses too much water. (I was only 7).
After leaving school, I started work at Bristol Zoo, although initially I was based at their nursery area at Hollywood Towers, which is just off the Cribbs Causeway turn-off at Bristol. Here I learnt about fruit, vegetables, cut flower, and growing crops for both animal and human consumption, as well as mowing and strimming rough areas.
I then moved into the zoo itself, working on the tropical plant house, growing and cultivating Fuchsias, Geraniums, and creating seasonal hanging baskets. From there I moved into the ground tending the borders etc. planting spring and summer bedding displays, and being responsible for the plants in the Bird House, Reptile House and Monkey House.
My experience continued with a move to the cold and heated frames, cactus house and the cultivating of various spring and summer plants from seed and cuttings, this was also combined with a short spell with Orchids and Ferns.
I then spent some time with a landscaper and Bristol City Council Parks Dept, before a short time in sports retail. This was very valuable as a lesson in customer relations. I then took two courses in Garden Design, one with the Institute of Garden Design, where I received a Diploma in Garden Design, and the other with the Horticultural Correspondence College, where I obtained a Certificate of Design at distinction level. Inspire Garden Architects was formed in 1999.
My thanks go to the people who guided me in the early years, Gordon Bland, Mike Jeffries, John Parkes, Brian Palmer, Fred Iles, Mike Lewis. Thank you.