Welcome to your Spring magazine, I hope you enjoy the read.
I started gardening at the age of four, and from about the age of nine loved travelling overseas with my parents and brother because I’d see plants I’d never seen before. At 11 I was working weekends at my local garden centre and I enrolled in horticultural studies once I turned 16. So you see, I felt I had controlled my future from the beginning: gardening was my life’s mantra.
It therefore came as a huge shock to be told by my dear Nan when I was 22 that her brother Tom was Thomas Hay, Head Gardener for the Royal Parks of London, and gardener to King George V and King George VI as well as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother! My life’s journey had actually been destined by genetics.
When Uncle Tom died his obituary in The Times read like a horticultural ‘who’s who’ as the gardening world paid its respects. In the Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary, published in 2000, Tom was credited as ‘the greatest gardener of the 20th century’. His son, Roy Hay, was the BBC’s first garden broadcaster.
When I was in England and Scotland recently, filming for Better Homes and Gardens, first at Buckingham Palace and later at Glamis Castle, I was very aware of proudly treading in Tom’s footsteps, mindful of my gardening heritage.