What is it like to be a Plant Nursery Manager?: Interview with Amanda Catley, a Growing Manager from PHS Greenleaf

What is it like to be a Plant Nursery ManagerAt PHS Greenleaf, our teams work tirelessly all year round to deliver our customers beautiful hanging baskets, troughs, pots, and flower beds. Because of this, everyone at PHS Greenleaf has two things in common; a keen and growing passion for gardening, as well as a dedication to ensuring our plants and flowers look their very best before arriving at our customer’s sites.

One of those helping to ensure this is possible is Amanda Catley, who is the Manager at our Waterside Nursery in Staines-Upon-Thames. Having worked in the Horticulture industry for over 35 years, today she shares her top tips for summer gardening, what she loves most about gardening, and the ins and outs of being a Nursery Manager for PHS Greenleaf…

Hi, Amanda! Can you describe what being a Growing Manager entails?

As the Manager of PHS Greenleaf’s Waterside Nursery, it’s my job to ensure our plants leave here on time, and that they’re looking the best they can. We mainly grow hanging baskets and bedding plants for the two seasonal replants, though we also grow shrubs on our 11.5-acre site.

How long have you been with PHS Greenleaf?

I’ve worked in the Horticulture industry for over 35 years, and have worked at the Waterside site for 18 of those.

What do you love most about being a Nursery Manager?

Waterside is a unique site. As the name suggests, it’s located next to the Thames, and it’s surrounded by farmland. On-site, we have resident little owls, woodpeckers, and very friendly ducks. We also have a manner of wild plants alongside our cultivated ones.

As a Growing Manager, I think I enjoy the cyclical nature of my work best. As we effectively work 6 months ahead, summer plants are ordered well before Christmas. Autumn plants (such as Cyclamen), also need 6 months from planting to produce their beautiful blooms.

Every season brings a new challenge, weather wise, so I need to make sure the plants have the best conditions to make them flourish. This will be by controlling temperature, water, and feed.

Additionally, I’m very lucky to have a dedicated and hardworking team. There are 6 ‘full-timers’ and 2 seasonal temps; so, as you can imagine, we are always very busy!

What is your team currently working on? Any exciting projects?

Currently, our summer production has almost finished, but plants for the autumn have already arrived.

However, we’ve produced just over 7,000 hanging baskets, and nearly 500,000 pots of bedding. These are distributed to our depots in Gunnersbury, Caerphilly, and Birmingham.

Where did you get your love of gardening from?

I’ve always had a love of nature; one of my earliest memory of plants is my granddad having a beautiful garden with grape vines and clove scented pinks. My dad also had an allotment when I was small, and I would “help” him by picking and eating his peas and strawberries!

I’m now a bit of a plant nerd, and like nothing better than visiting Garden Centres, Plant shows, or RHS gardens on my days off… and I’ve still got shares in an allotment.

Tell us some exciting trends for summer planting!

One of our contracts is to supply hanging baskets, troughs, and towers to a local council. We choose what goes in these, and therefore try to come up with a different planting scheme each season. This year, we’ve opted for a riot of carnival colours, which look fantastic.

Do you have any tips for summer gardening? What are your top must dos?

My first tip would be; don’t forget that even the smallest gardens can be beautiful. Patios, for example, can be filled with pots and troughs. You can also mix things up a little by growing herbs and vegetables alongside seasonal bedding. Just remember that plants are living things, and they need food and water to survive (with a bit of tender loving care for good measure!).

Want to know more about what the PHS Greenleaf team can do for your business premises? Check out the links below: