Andrew Fisher Tomlin Portrait
Andrew Fisher Tomlin Portrait

Horticulture as a skilled career: Andrew Fisher Tomlin

This is our first interview with an individual who has carved a (very) successful career out of horticulture.

An interview with Andrew Fisher Tomlin

Andrew Fisher Tomlin is a Chartered Horticulturalist with the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, as well as being registered member, former chair and Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers.

He has also served as an ambassador to Streetscape, Bowel Disease UK, The Landscape Show and the Australian Garden Show, Sydney and is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. Andrew is also Director of the London College of Garden Design and takes a moment to chew the fat with Forest Flora — This is our first interview with an individual who has carved a (very) successful career out of horticulture.

What is a typical day like?

The joy of my career is there’s no typical day. Garden designers can often spend long days in front of a screen like everyone else so it’s great to also pack a day full of site visits to see how projects are progressing or visiting nurseries whether that’s in the UK or when I’m working in Australia which at the moment is around 3 times a year. I try and get onto site early so that my landscapers can move forward and these days I’m trying very hard to stick to designated time for things like social media that can be distracting.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

You can’t beat a day setting out plants on site with the sun shining.

And your least favourite?

Catching up on emails. I’d rather do a VAT return!

When did you get an inkling that horticulture might be career?

I come from a horticultural family so it was in the blood but I rebelled and worked in banking and horse racing for a few years when I left school at 18 before owning up that horticulture was what I wanted to do around 8 years later.

What training did you do?

HND in Horticulture and a Degree in Landscape Management at Askham Bryan College but our world changes so rapidly especially in plants that you need to keep up training especially in plant health.

What was your first job ever?

Delivering the weekly ‘Shopper’ newspaper in the village.

What was your first job in horticulture?

I’ve always worked for myself in horticulture so a self-employed horticulturist, designer and gardener.

Why did you choose horticulture as a career?

Working with plants that are mostly forgiving but always surprising.

What does it take to be good at your job?

Great training, an interest in people as well as design and plants.

What are the skills that you would like to develop next?

Growing unusual edibles. I’ve never really done this much but I’m about to take on an allotment for the first time and I’ve already got a long list of unusual species and heritage varieties.

Who is your horticultural hero?

My mum and dad who are and were great gardeners.

What are the pay and career prospect like?

Excellent. Many people in our profession are embarrassed about making money but we are in an industry where there is a lack of skilled people and a huge growing demand for those skills. We need to value our worth and charge accordingly. Horticulturists will play a major part in saving the human race in the next 100 years.