“Thanks to my parents I’ve had a love of nature and wildlife for as long as I can remember. I’ve enjoyed exploring and discovering new things. When I met my wife Jenny, we spent even more time outdoors enjoying our local area together. At home, we had a family of badgers we fed in our garden every night; it is so much easier watching them from your bedroom window!
Orchid-spotting became a particular interest of mine while greenkeeping in Sussex. I found a couple of flowering Autumn lady’s-tresses, which are very delicate and not easy to spot. Sensitive management of the area, a careful mowing regime and the support of club members enabled me to establish a thriving colony of more than 100 plants which became a much-treasured aspect of the golf course.
During my travels managing lawns in the county, I’m always amazed by things that pop up unexpectedly; none more so than the beautiful bee orchid. In order to grow, orchids have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria in the soil. Conditions must be perfect for them to establish. I was completing a lawn analysis for a new customer this month when I discovered the first rosette of leaves in it. With care these can be nurtured into thriving, albeit small colonies. One customer has lots growing around the edge of her lawn, each one marked with a cane. Because of their interdependence with certain soil microbes/bacteria it is risky to dig them up and move them elsewhere in the garden.
You’d be surprised to know that I found bee orchids on a sponsored roundabout and at a hotel whose staff never knew a thing about them until they began using Lawn Master. Now, whenever I visit, the gardeners ask me to let them know how many I’ve spotted. I’ve even suggested they hold ‘orchid-spotting days’ when they start flowering.
Spotting hidden gems is what makes daily work so fulfilling. I highlight to customers any orchids I find in their lawns in the hope it may encourage them to look after them. And it’s not always about the show-stoppers! One of my best work moments came when I was doing a quotation and the householder’s son asked a very simple question about grass. Cue explanation about photosynthesis and he was hooked!
I’ve been told I’m a great ambassador for nature, but to be honest it isn’t difficult to talk about things you love doing. Jenny and I don’t have children, but we try to encourage the next generation to engage more with nature. Taking part in things like #30DaysWild helps get the message out that there are wonderful things to discover outdoors. We are also incredibly proud to support the amazing work of the Notts Wildlife Trust by becoming Corporate Sponsors in the hope that working together, we can inspire someone in some small way to head out on their own wildlife journey.”