Mark Rice - Dip GD (Inst GD),Cert GD (H.C.College)
My interest and plants started at a very early age,and brought with it a passion to bring out the best in every garden I have the pleasure to work with.
Working with my Grandad way back in my early years showed me how much passion a person can have for the garden.He nurtured his Roses,standards and hybrid Ts,his Dahlias which filled the borders down the right with colour, the Aubrietia which literally covered the paths each side of the garden and of course his beloved lawn.I suppose he laid the foundations of where I would head later in life.
My dad didn't have quite the same passion for the garden, but his interest was still to help when needed, being a carpenter he spent a couple of weekends putting up two greenhouses for me, I grew the Tomatos, he picked them.
My first job in gardening was at Hollywood Towers,Cribbs Causeway,Bristol.It belongs to Bristol Zoo and while there I learnt about vegetable growing,fruit,mowed the orchards,spent hours weeding between rows of spring bedding,(some 300 plants to a row)and cabbages,learnt how to collect pea sticks for use in the herbaceous border at the zoo,and learnt how cold it was when picking sprouts on a frosty morning.
I then moved into the zoo gardens themselves,maintaining and planting the glorious borders they used to create twice a year,then came a spell in the greenhouse sections,tropical plants,Fuchsias,Geraniums,cold and heated frames,all this with learning from the old gardeners techniques you don’t find in books. After six and a half years I felt it was time to move on, although still gardening in my spare time I spent some time in the sports retail area,and it taught me a lot about customer contact. A couple of stints with landscapers and Bristol City Council Parks Department (as it was then) finished that chapter of my life. In 1999 I decided I needed to go out on my own, refreshed some of my knowledge, with new fields such as Garden Design, obtained a Diploma from the Institute Of Garden Design(commended) and a Certificate Of Garden Design (Distinction) from the Horticultural Correspondence College.
The pleasure I had from gardening back then still lives with me now,encouraging clients to be more active in the garden,enjoy it,understand it and most of all share it with others.No matter what type of art you have an interest in, the garden will play some part in it, and with the delicate architecture in its make-up motivate you to go that one step closer to perfection.
Relaxing time for me is out walking with my Springer Spaniel Fynne,just like him I enjoy the woodlands,exploring the outside world and seeing what wildlife it has to offer.And if we really want to get away then its off to the Highlands of Scotland,to far away to be found,no mobile just relaxation.
Married to my wife for 29 years we have a son and a daughter which we have encouraged to search for there ideal future and progress on, but when we are all together its always a pleasure to see them happy. A lot of this reflects in my work,sometimes I have to remember its a business not a hobby, but it never stops me putting the personal touch to all the gardens I am lucky to work in.