Gardenproud Blog

Archive for the ‘Know Your Gardener’ Category

See Gardenproud on Instagram

Friday, January 29th, 2016

We’ve recently joined Instagram and have the grand total of 30 Followers!

So a long way to go yet.

We are trying to upload new photos everyday.

The above photo features Basil who is one of our regular ride-on drivers, it’s already got a like from would you believe John Deere!

If you are looking for great pictures to inspire your garden thinking, then look no further than Gardenproud. You can see us at

If you haven’t already signed up you can download the app for i-phone (IOS) , Android, or Windows phone at the above, or visit your App Store on your phone.

Looking forward to having you as Followers soon!

Gardenproud Photo Highlights 2015

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

2015 was an excellent year for Gardenproud.

Lots of new projects for the landscaping division and some previous projects revisited and updated. Which is all good stuff as gardens evolve.

We went to Chelsea and gleaned inspiration from the latest designs, braved the weather and enjoyed the champagne. We’ve started designing and creating garden buildings as part of our landscaping offer. The Maintenance teams  worked extremely hard to cope with the new assignments, and new gardeners joined the team. We look forward to recruiting more team members in 2016.

It is with great sadness to report that Emmett Gilah, who was a regular member of the team, has unfortunately died. He was an industrious chap and good gardener and far too young to die. Our thoughts go out to his family. Thank you Emmett you will be sorely missed.

2015 was a big year for us, as we moved house. We haven’t moved for 16 years. So had forgotten just how stressy and time consuming the whole process is. Especially when you are also trying to run two businesses. So having beautified our last house and completely re-fashioned the garden, we now have a new garden. So watch this space!

Fortunately shortly after moving we had a holiday. Which was a real tonic. Sarah and I visited a number of gardens during our summer holiday. We went to Madeira, which was an eye opener. We went in August, but if you really want to see the flora, I suggest you go in April or May. But do go. It is a wonderful island and it benefits from a sub-tropical climate. Over the years it has had a strong British influence, so the planting is a bit a mixture between those we see in the UK and more tropical specimens. There is a very good book (which I bought) written by an Englishman, Gerald Luckhurst. He is a landscape architect and has designed and built many gardens on Madeira. Sounds like a rather good job!

Back home and back to work on our plans for the new house and various gardens.

So here we are already in 2016. A new house, a new garden, a greenhouse for the first time, some new possible avenues, new projects and new gardens. Oh yes, we’ve got a little more savvy on the media front – we are already on Facebook, we are now on Instagram! I think we have the grand total of 30 followers, so do look us up (my son claims to have 1400)!  I don’t believe him.

See us at

Enough said, 2016 looks busy, I’d better stop writing and get on with it!

Happy New Year from View

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

View is the quarterly update from Gardenproud on what’s new in the garden.

The new 2014 edition is out now. You can order a copy in the post, or via email. Just send an email request to

In this quarter’s edition are Gardening Tips, 2013 Highlights from Gardenproud, some ideas for Window Boxes, details of our latest Equipment updates – of special interest to the demands of larger gardens, our latest recruit, and news of our latest Design Projects.

Don’t throw away your old ride on, race it instead!

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Don’t throw away your old ride on, race it instead, says Tim Sykes of Gardenproud.

My son Harry and I were treated to the whole new world of lawn mower racing yesterday .

We’ve got an old ride on which we’ve been wondering what to do with for sometime and by chance we heard about the British Lawn Mower Racing Association from our local equipment supplier in Tunbridge Wells.

We checked out their website and found it to be a very lively organisation.

Yesterday they were running a 12 hour endurance race at Five Oaks, West Sussex. So we packed the camera and turned on the Sat Nav and headed out to find out as much as possible about this exciting new sport.

Click on this video link  IMG_9226

Click on this video link  IMG_9227

There was no problem finding the event as apart from the wonders of Sat Nav the AA had helped signpost the way. Once at Five Oaks, West Sussex the race circuit was well laid out and marshalled. It was £5 a head to get in and there were refreshment tents, souvenir tents. Everything you’d expect at a properly organised event. Various people had taken their tents so they could camp out and stay with the race as it hurtled through the night.

We watched the timed trails. These took place in the afternoon from 3.15pm. To the layman these looked just like the race although I suspect the actual thing is more competitive and pretty hairy during the night. You will be surprised to see just how fast these machines zoo round the grass tracks, often spinning round corners on just 2 wheels! The drivers wear all the kit too. So they are as safe as can be, plus look the part. At first sight the racing mowers look a bit heath robinson, but on closer inspection have been souped up to carrier round the tracks.

There are 3 main types of racing machine:

Group 3 and Group 4  both use 13.5 hp engines and these include vehicles that look like tuned mini tractors, and other lower gravity machines that are more reminiscent of go-karts than mowers. Anyway I’m assured they were mowers once upon a time! Actually they have to have been, otherwise you wouldn’t be allowed to race them.

The third category I really loved. This is Group 2. These machines started out life as cylinder or roller based machines, but they now look more like a cross between an old fashioned bob sleigh and a cricket mower. The cylinder contraption sits in front and tows a small chariot on which the driver sits. They lie low on the track and no doubt take some handling, but look the business!

For the endurance race you need a team of drivers. Plus a skilled team of mechanics and lots of spare parts. The pitstop area was arranged just like a Formula One area, with teams stopping off for essential repairs and driver changes.

The BLMRA was founded in 1973 by a bunch of beer drinking enthusiasts in Wisborough Green. They hold a number of events each year including a Grand Prix, National and World Championships, plus a 12 hour Endurance Race. Apart from the UK events have been held in Ireland, France, Luxembourg and USA.

Lawn Mower Racing has attracted all manner of drivers including some of the greatest such as Stirling Moss ( who I was once very privileged to share the cockpit of a Lola with – very scary) and Derek Bell – the UK’s greatest Le Mans winner. Both of whom have won the 12 hour endurance race twice!

So if you take this up you’d be in great company.

Well after yesterday we are thinking  very seriously about starting a Gardenproud Racing Team during the 2014 season.

Let me know if you have a ride-on mower you might like to donate to us.

Contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820 at Gardenproud, or go to the BLMRA website if you would like further information.

The latest edition of View is out now!

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

The latest edition of the Gardenproud Newsletter is out now.

Entitled “View” the newsletter is a quarterly perspective on what’s new in the garden.

View looks at the latest news from Gardenproud considering both garden maintenance challenges and solutions. It also looks at the opportunities for design and landscaping that will help bring you more enjoyment to your outdoor space, whether it’s a small town garden, or a large country estate.

View is available as a pdf or as a printed copy. Either of which we are happy to email or post directly to you.

To receive your copy just contact us at stating whether you prefer an emailed or posted copy. In the case of the latter please provide us with your name, address and postcode.

Alternatively you can go to the “Contact” section of our website and complete a request form there.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy your garden this year.

Tim Sykes

Music drives her passion for Garden Design!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Paula Beresford has recently joined the Gardenproud Design Team.

“Paula brings a fresh perspective to our work, I’m particularly keen to harness her talents in developing a more contemporary style for a number of our clients”, comments Gardenproud Director Tim Sykes.

Paula’s career started as a Contracts Manager in Local Government. This gave her an excellent grounding in project management and real insight into the client/supplier relationship.

After a number of years working on Government contracts, she decided it was time to change gear and follow her heart.

She wanted to fuse her love of gardens with her passion for the Arts.

So Paula signed herself up for a BA (Hons) Garden Design at Hadlow College and Greenwich University, which she passed with flying colours!

She has subsequently worked with several landscaping companies designing and project managing garden projects, both domestic and commercial. Her past work has included contemporary garden designs such as these……..

Always creative, Paula earlier dabbled in Interior design and made blinds, soft furnishings and glass Terrariums.

She also plays the piano, having taken lessons between the ages of 5 and 40!

“Whilst having piano lessons, my teacher used to get me to explain what I could see and feel whilst hearing or playing a piece of music, and it was invariably a beautiful landscape, sometimes rolling hills or water, but sometimes it would be an intimate courtyard garden or a small space. I often play music when I design gardens as it gives me inspiration, particularly classical pieces by composers such as Rachmaninov and Beethoven. I feel that there is a real connection between sound and the landscape and love to create this with water or the rustling of grasses in the wind, which give garden spaces another dimension.

My parents have lived in Spain for years and so I have had plenty of experience working in a Mediterranean garden, and understanding the different requirements for the plants. They seem to grow in rock hard soil that we would not even consider trying to plant, and they have flowers virtually all year, it is incredible.”

As part of her degree, Paula studied Historic Garden conservation and the History and Philosophy of Garden Design which gave her a real understanding of how the various styles of gardens have evolved over the centuries.

“Which other Degree course would have given me the opportunity to visit Tate Modern and Versailles, see VanGoghs at the Kroller-Muller museum and wander around Parc Citroen in Paris, to broaden my understanding of all aspects of art and design, the use of colour, materials and scale?”

For further information about Paula’s work and for a free design consultation contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.

Yohan Briceno joins Gardenproud team

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Yohan Adrian Gomez Briceno to be precise!

Yohan joined our team of gardeners this year, then promptly tripped over playing basketball with some friends and broke his collar bone! So a bit of a false start, but I’m pleased to say he’s now back fighting fit, and impressing the clients with his knowledge, charm and great work ethic. He’s also one of two gardeners currently upping their game taking a course at Plumpton Horticultural College, jointly sponsored by Gardenproud. Outside of his interests in gardening Yohan is a budding volcanologist!

Yohan comments, “I remember my Mother asking me once what my dream was? I was probably nine or ten years old and I said to her, I would love to climb that volcano… ( Concepcion Volcano Nicaragua ) , and she replied by saying, I love the roses that grow up there mmmmm… They are beautiful and they smell amazing. Years later during early summer on my first ascent, all of a sudden I found myself surrounded and astonished by the beauty of the different roses ( Hybrid Tea Roses and Floribundas ) that were growing everywhere and the smell that spread was incredible, my Mother was right!!!”

Coming from humble beginnings Yohan has always put his passion into the outdoors. He spent eight years working as a Mountaineer Tour Leader, climbing crazy-active volcanoes and also working for several National Parks where he taught about the protection, preservation and conservation of nature and wildlife.

Yohan is also a Co-founder for Union Guias de Ometepe ( OUG ) and a Member of the Nicaraguan Mountain Leader Association (NMLA) where he served as an organizer and trainer for new tour leaders.

After travelling through South America, Central America and most of Nicaragua… This time Yohan embarked on a different, forever lasting, lifetime LOVING adventure. The love for his Brits wife, who he met and fell in love with on his Volcanic-Island, lead him to the UK.

Based in the beautiful town of Tunbridge Wells, Yohan decided to put his passion once again into the outdoors and started working for Gardenproud, which embraced and engaged him as an official Gardener, as well as broaden in his knowledge of British plants by giving him the great opportunity to attend a special course at Plumpton College ( A Year In The Garden ) for the recognition, maintenance and care of plants. He also passed his tree surgery course for small trees at Hadlow College.

“Putting my love and passion for gardens and being surrounded by the greatness of nature gives me the peace and harmony that I need, as well as the wonderful opportunity to feel and remember the smell of roses once again… ”

For further information about our gardening services please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820

Thumbs up for new Gardenproud T-Shirts!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Look out for the new Gardenproud T-shirts that all the team are wearing.

It sports a smart motive of a hand trowel and fork above the Gardenproud logo and telephone number.

We hope you like them.

Let us know what you think at

The Italian Connection – George Sykes

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011


George is a determined chap, he boldly claims his plan is to take over Gardenproud! Which probably means I’d better watch my back and mind my P’s and Q’s if I’m ever to enjoy my retirement!!!!

He’s currently at Hadlow College studying Horticulture, about to embark on his second year.

One day a week he works for Gardenproud learning from the ground up the skills he’ll need to work with our team of gardeners. Every weekend he’s also been working for a local nursery, so he’s also been brushing up on his plant ident and customer skills.

Most recently George along with a number of other students were treated to a trip to Rome to be inspired by the sights and visit a number of the most famous Italian gardens.

Italianate Gardens are a personal passion, in fact I’ve been involved with one particular UK garden that is currently undergoing a renaissance.

This is also a passion of BBC Presenter Monty Don.

Thanks to my sister I’ve just been bought his book “ Great Gardens of Italy” – published by Quadrille as a birthday present. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Anyway turning back to George. He found the trip to Italy fascinating and was particularly struck by the structure and architecture of many gardens.

His favourite gardens were Villa d’Este, Villa Lante, and Sacro Bosco.

“ Villa d’Este is really impressive, of particular interest are the many fountains and pools fed entirely by the gravity water system,” comments George.

So you can see from his response immediately that the guy is into hard landscaping!

This is so true to form. I can remember vividly that George as a 4 year old would as his favourite past-time dig trenches in our garden in Essex and lay land drains!

The gardens at Villa d’Este, based in the town of Tivoli, were created in the 16th Century. Originally conceived by Architect Pirro Ligorio the design on the face of it is comparatively simple with a central pathway leading past a series of fountains, with steep steps leading you through a number of diversions. “Like a kind of horticultural fairground made of stone.”

The money that must have been thrown at these projects was incredible.

Villa d’Este, is a masterpiece, it is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. Its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, water features, and music. A much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.

Outside of gardening George is like most other teenagers, he’s out till the early hours, never seems to have any money, and never answers his phone to his parents!

Favourite  Plants: Dogwood, Bleeding Heart

Gardening Dislikes: The early start

Know Your Gardener – Brett Ketteringham

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Brett sights the outdoor lifestyle and closeness to nature among the key attributes of his job.

He started his gardening career in 1995 training at Brooksby Melton College where he gained a National Certificate and
Diploma in Horticulture.

He went onto work as a Field Trials Assistant with what is now known as Garden Organic (the foremost organic society in Europe), before embarking on a more focused gardening career. This led to a spell working with a landscape company, where he was involved with garden projects for commercial enterprises.

Brett then became Solo Gardener in Charge at a 40 acre estate in Tenterton and Head Gardener at a Manor House in Brenchley.

He now helps Gardenproud care for a number of the larger properties in their portfolio. His wealth of experience also involves him in specialist activities including spraying, lawn care, flower meadow creation and maintenance, and small tree felling.

Brett is married to a primary school teacher and lives in Battle, East Sussex.

Outside of gardening his key interest is biking, having just restored an Aprilia RS250 which he plans to take to Track Days.

Favourite flowers:    Dahlias

Gardening dislikes:  Bindweed and Ground Elder