Gardens Illustrated
Jennifer Warner
© Andrew Montgomery

Meet the gardeners: Jennifer Warner

Published: May 4, 2022 at 3:44 pm

Former teacher Jennifer has just completed a traineeship at Audley End House and Gardens in Essex, and is now starting on the Kew Diploma in Horticulture. Portrait Andrew Montgomery.

First plant love Like many children, I fell in love with cacti and had a windowsill full of prickly friends. I have a few now, and thankfully I understand their watering requirements a little better, rather than giving them too much love.

Who has inspired your career the most? This is 100 per cent my grandad. It was because I spent so much time in the garden with my grandparents as a child, that I developed an interest in gardening at a young age, which has always been with me and led to my career change.

What did you do before? Prior to moving into horticulture, I was a secondary school music teacher. During school breaks I was taking part in more and more volunteering holidays with the National Trust for Scotland, my houseplant collection was multiplying, and it became apparent that I was a much happier person working with plants.

Horticultural heroes Carol Klein has such an infectious enthusiasm and I share her love of propagation. I am also hugely inspired by the environmentalist Summer Rayne Oakes, who works to persuade people to reconnect with nature – and has filled her New York apartment with hundreds of houseplants. I was super lucky to be able to attend her book signing in London in 2019.

Most valuable training My recent two years on the Historic and Botanic Gardens Training Programme at Audley End House and Gardens has been a great experience. The opportunity to work full time alongside an inspirational garden team, to experience the seasonal requirements of the role, and complete projects, which I have been able to see realised within the garden, gave me such confidence to move forward with my career.

Dream plant destination Tropical glasshouses are my favourite part of any botanic garden and I have always wanted to travel to a rainforest. It would be amazing to experience these tropical plants in their natural habitat, so Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Columbia are all on my wish list.

One easy thing every gardener can do to be more sustainable Peat-free compost is an easy change. It is slightly more expensive but readily available, and even if gardeners swap out just some of their peat-based media for a peat-free mix, it all adds up.

Contact Instagram @littlegreenjen


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