With a career spanning almost forty years, Martin has had a varied and interesting life in gardening and horticulture. Although he came from a mining village in Nottinghamshire, after a school careers visit down the pit he announced that he wanted to be a gardener not a miner, much to the delight of his mum and dad. After an apprenticeship with the local parks department and college, he was appointed the youngest head gardener in the country.
For many years Martin ran his own nursery and loved chatting to customers about plants and gardening. So much so that he started to write and broadcast about gardening in a very hands on style. He relished the opportunity to present gardening programmes for Yorkshire and Carlton TV and BBC East Midlands Today. Martin has been a regular at many flower shows over the years giving talks and demonstrations and was also show director of the Harrogate Flower Shows for five years. Martin writes for several gardening publications and broadcasts for BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio York. He is also an RHS judge and is honoured to judge at Chelsea and all the major flower shows. Martin sits on two RHS Committees, is a Garden Advisor for RHS Harlow Carr and chairs the Garden Committee for the Great Yorkshire Show. Fortunately, Martin still manages to find time to work in the garden and loves nothing more than pottering in the greenhouse or tending to his hens.
Jill has always enjoyed cooking and when confronted with large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden, she started to collate recipes from family and friends. She would be the first to admit that she hasn’t got any qualifications in cookery other than that she loves food and loves serving it to anyone who will eat it!
She and Martin have three children who all grew up with healthy appetites and now, as adults, enjoy experimenting with flavours and fresh produce.
After working as an infant teacher for many years, Jill left education to work on their nursery and demonstration gardens, becoming the organising force behind Martin. During a business meeting with the then editor of Garden News, Jill made lunch for everyone with a toffee apple pie for pudding. The editor was so impressed that he immediately offered Jill the job of cookery writer for the weekly garden publication! For five years she cooked, photographed and wrote recipes using the produce out of their veg plot. Much to Martin’s relief, Jill is also a keen gardener and is often found hoeing the borders with her radio and Molly, their mad cocker spaniel!
Martin and Jill now live in North Yorkshire, where they have created their three-quarter-acre garden from scratch.