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Meet: Tim Pickles, nurseryman

Meet Tim Pickles, nurseryman

Some of our most popular Garden Classes are those we run with the effusive Tim Pickles at Tim’s Garden Centre in Cambelltown.

Now, meet the man behind the name.


Meet Tim Pickles, nurseryman. Photo - Robin Powell


Interview: Robin Powell


What role does your garden play in your life?

At work I am quite an extrovert but that’s not really me. At home I love quiet and privacy and that’s what my garden offers. When we first moved here there was one lonely eucalyptus tree on the property. I’ve planted more than 100 trees, as well as a 100m hedge of Waterhousia floribunda, the weeping lillypilly, to give me that privacy. I always wanted a big hedge and I fell in love with this one years ago when I noticed it at the tollgates on the M5.


It’s such a bucolic scene, you can’t see anyone else from here.

I love that you can’t see the house from the street. We’ve just found out that a neighbour about a kilometre away is about to start building, so I’ve planted a fast-growing Brachychiton ‘Jerilderie Red’ that will block our view of that!


Magnolia grandiflora in Tim's garden. Photo - Robin Powell


Have you always been into gardening?

My parents didn’t garden really though my dad was proud of his couch lawn until and my brother and I wrecked it playing soccer. After school I got a job in a nursery propagating indoor plants. It was an indoor plant factory really; I was fascinated how fast you could grow plants!


Were you hooked?

Pretty much. I later worked at Swane’s Nursery as a salesperson while studying horticulture at Ryde TAFE and by the time I was 22 I was running a Flower Power garden centre. I bought my own nursery the next year.


What is it about gardening that makes you talk to people about it all week, and still feel like doing it on the weekend?

I think we were all meant to grow things. I need to plant things and look after them. It makes me feel better. I never think of it as work, even when it is work - like clipping that very long hedge – the sense of satisfaction when it’s done makes it worth it.


Are you encouraged by the number of people taking up gardening?

I am, but then I get angry about people taking advantage of them. I have a thing about cheap, poor potting mixes. We run an experiment at the nursery which we use to try to tell people it’s not their fault when things die. We have seedlings planted in a bag of supermarket potting mix. They do nothing. Alongside we plant the same seedlings at the same time into a bag of our potting mix. They do brilliantly. I hate that people might miss out on the joys of gardening because they blame themselves instead of their crap potting mix!


We’ll be conducting a free Garden Class at Tim’s Garden Centre, 2 Queen Street, Campbelltown on Friday September 9. Call 1300 133 100 to book.


Quality v's cheap potting mix! The verdict is in. Photo - Robin Powell

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Author: Robin Powell