Tom Fuller has always had a love of the great outdoors and after leaving school went to a local specialist college to study Horticulture. A fair few years later Tom decided to return to education to hone his skills with the NDA’s Professional Garden Design Diploma. We sent Tom’s Zoom garden design tutor Gill to meet him and find out more about his mammoth project on a private country estate in Leicestershire.
Watch now and read on for Tom’s Student Spotlight.
Have you always had a love of gardening?
I spent most of my time playing outdoors when I was young. I loved climbing trees, building dams and bases etc. On completion of my GCSE’s, I was completely lost with where to go after school. My mum suggested that I look into Pershore Horticulture college. I had two weeks work experience in the summer there and within the first two days I had signed up for a full-time course in Horticulture.
Why did you decide to return to education to study garden design?
It had been 16 years since I last studied a course in Horticulture and garden design was an area I really wanted to explore further. I then got a new job working on a large private estate in Leicestershire and the gardens are a long-term project that the owners are developing. I wanted to be able to tackle the project with more a recent and in-depth knowledge of garden design.
What was the hardest part of the NDA's Garden Design course?
The hardest part was getting into the routine of a fast paced online course. I was worried about falling behind as I also work full time but, by the time I had my second lesson, I had organised myself by dedicating time each week for coursework and, most importantly, I had been in touch with my tutor, who reassured me and gave me guidance.
What do you love about your job as Head Gardener?
Being outdoors, come rain or shine. It’s great to be amongst nature.
How do you think your Garden Design Diploma will help with your work at the Estate?
Quenby is developing a lot over the next 5 years and I have been asked to design four areas of the garden. The course has helped me to understand the basic principles of garden design and I have a clearer picture now of what I am aiming for and how to carry out the design.
Which are your favourite plants to work with?
I am at my happiest when working with Roses or in Orchards, the work is rewarding and I find it very therapeutic!
Who inspires your work?
Designers that create gardens that factor in biodiversity and ecology. Steve Williams is a good example. It’s really important to work alongside nature and I love to see examples of this in design. Otherwise, my mum has always been a huge inspiration.