I grew up immersed in animals, plants & wildlife.  Dens under the apple trees, over the pig shed, in the hay loft, in the logpile. Making ‘pets’ of calves, piglets, lamb, rabbits, cats, hens, ducks – even a full grown bullock. Eating everything – cattle feed, calf milk powder, blackberries – anything was better than mashed potato. The small family mixed farm was a wondrous place for a self-reliant and imaginative child.

I think I was always going to grow and make things, work with animals and plants in some form. I just didn’t know how. When I was told I wasn’t clever enough to be a vet & to do any degree I was interested in, I chose Zoology. What do do with that? Rejected by British Antarctic Survey (no women allowed!) I ended up changing tack into Human Resources. An odd choice really, but I spent 20 yrs working in Manchester, Lake District & Birmingham, from recruiting in Inverness to training in Truro, Trade Union negotiations in Dublin, to Tribunals in Bury St Edmonds, via abseiling & rafting with managers in Windermere. I always knew it would be temporary.  I did, however, meet my husband Paul when I had to interview him!

Eventually we came back to the family farm in Cheshire. I carried on contract HR while helping with Organic conversion of the dairy herd. Sometimes a challenging mix, I remember helping a cow to calve, spreading concrete in overalls & wellies in the morning, to get suited & booted to interview & test Finance Directors in Manchester in the afternoon.
Plants were calling me & I trained myself up in Horticulture at Northop & Reaseheath Colleges – up to RHS Diploma & in Garden Design.  After a short spell designing, and a bit of teaching at Reaseheath, I settled on growing veg & flowers. I’ve been doing this for 15 yrs, but stepped up a gear when we moved to a new site in March 2012. Paul now works with me pretty much full time, in between playing & teaching guitar.

Carol Siddorn

Why I do it

I love it when people stop me in the street to tell me they saw my flowers at a wedding they went to, or how long last month’s bouquet lasted’ or to ask me how to prune their Eucalyptus or train their tomatoes – or when will I have sweet peas ready.  My real aim is to build a sustainable flower garden where people can come to learn & to share the experience.  I’m always trying different methods & varieties and want to give others the confidence to do that for themselves.  I have led projects to create a community garden, a private allotment site, and help to run the Gardening Society and Village show as well as being a Trustee for the village Community Association. They are all connected by common themes – Growing, Learning & Sharing. Oh, and getting my hands very dirty.

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