Somerset Life meets... horticultural expert Peter Burks from The Garden Centre Group in Brent Knoll
PUBLISHED: 11:04 08 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:40 20 February 2013
Peter Burks offers an insight into his green-fingered life working <br/><br/>with The Garden Centre Group
Meet the horticultural expert
Peter Burks offers an insight into his green-fingered life working
with The Garden Centre Group
What exactly is your job?
Its in two parts. First, I look after Sanders GardenWorld at Brent Knoll, which is part of The Garden Centre Group. We have excellent staff so it is mainly just keeping an eye on whats going on and making sure that all is running smoothly. Secondly, I also look after six other garden centres in the Group. I liaise with the managers at each garden centre and help them to solve any problems they may have. I also advise them on how to enhance their customers shopping experience.
What does a typical day involve?
I dont really have a typical day at all, but most of the time it is helping to solve peoples problems, such as customers needing help or staff with planning ahead.
Why do you think Gardeners World chose Sanders GardenWorld as the Garden Centre of the Year in 2009 and how do you hope to build on this success?
Sanders GardenWorld has twice before been the UKs Garden Centre of the Year so we are no strangers to this type of accolade. The garden centre sets very high standards for its plants and customer service and that is what sets us apart.
Who is the most interesting visitor you have had to the garden centre?
Bishop Peter, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, came for lunch with me one day on a business fact-finding mission around his diocese. Also we see Marcus Trescothick here from time to time a fantastic cricketer, and cricket is one of my passions!
What do you hope to achieve in your new role as the South West Regional Manager for The Garden Centre Group?
To improve the standards within all of the garden centres under my control. We want better premises for our customers and better plants and products, as well as great restaurants and customer service. Anything that makes a customer visit more enjoyable I want to try to improve.
What inspires you?
To be told, This is the best garden centre I have ever been to.
If you could meet a famous plantsman from history, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Empress Josphine, the first wife of Napolon Bonaparte. She loved roses and I also like old-fashioned roses. I would like to know why she wanted to garden so much when life in court must have been so exciting!
Why did you choose horticulture as a career?
I have always enjoyed plants since helping my dad grow lobelia, alyssum and geraniums, from about three years old. I find it very therapeutic now to be lost in my garden when the rest of my life is so busy.
If you were a flower or plant what would it be and why?
I would be a horse chestnut tree. Hopefully long-lived, sturdy occasionally beautiful? And fun, as they produce conkers.
How would you describe the style of your own garden?
My garden is large and planted with a wide range of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, which all have to look after themselves. I only have time to cut the lawns, but it is not wild. I love trees. We have more than 60 in our garden and are surrounded by many more.
What events would you recommend to our readers for 2010?
At the garden centre we host our own Sweet Pea and Rose Show in June, which is amazing, and theres the Burnham-on-Sea & District Horticultural Society Show in August.
What is your favourite season?
My favourite season is definitely spring, when everything in the garden gets growing. I love the spring bulbs like daffodils, tulips, as well as snowdrops, hellebores and rhododendrons. My favourite of all is Lonicera fragrantissima (honeysuckle) it has a fantastic scent!
What is your top gardening tip?
Enjoy your garden. Try not to make it too much hard work, but have lots of different plants they are so rewarding