Mollie Higginson, co-chair of Young People in Horticulture Association
Co-chair of the Young People in Horticulture Association on working in her family's wholesale nursery and why horticulture should be encouraged as a great career choice. Portrait Andrew Montgomery
Earliest gardening memory I remember pottering around the garden a lot with my mum as a child and growing sunflowers for school competitions, but my first real memory of getting stuck into gardening was helping at our family’s nursery, weeding the paths in the glasshouse and re-laying weed-suppressant matting.
First plant love As a child I loved succulents; I used to collect as many as I could and create succulent gardens in old pots we had lying around. That’s when I started to understand the appeal of gardening; watching them grow and taking off the baby plants, handing them out to friends or family and seeing them grow into bigger plants.
I came into horticulture without really knowing what I had stepped into...as soon as I started working for New Leaf Plants full time, I realised how much I loved it
Who has inspired your career the most? I came into horticulture without really knowing what I had stepped into. It wasn’t a chosen career path, but as soon as I started working for New Leaf Plants full time, I realised how much I loved it. My dad is one of my biggest inspirations, he came from a banking background and moved into horticulture. He bought New Leaf Plants in 2015 and watching him thrive in his role as MD inspired me to keep progressing in my career through New Leaf, with hopes of one day being MD.
Favourite planting style Whatever works for you. Put plants in that you like; if you know you’re too busy to garden during spring, put in low-maintenance plants. Gardening isn’t just about making a garden look fantastic, it’s about allowing you to be successful in your own garden.
Biggest challenge facing horticulture today Diversity; horticulture has a bad image of being for one class and one gender, when it can be so much to so many more people. The job roles are so vast; it is not a low-wage, low-skilled career. You can be successful in horticulture, and we need to start telling kids from all backgrounds about why horticulture is the possible career choice for them.
Horticulture has a bad image of being for one class and one gender, when it can be so much to so many more people
What’s the future for horticulture? I want it to become an up-and-coming career, to see more young people choosing it as a career path, be that through college courses, apprenticeships or university. I’m co-chair of the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA), which we set up back in 2020, and now has over 250 members. We wanted somewhere for under thirty-fives working in horticulture to join together – to network, have fun, make friends within the industry and to keep learning about all the areas involved.
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