The Tattooed Gardener

Great Court, Trinity College CambridgeWelcome to my first blog. Being my first one, I thought I would start with an introduction to myself…….get the boring bit out of the way first!

I am at present the Head Gardener at Trinity College Cambridge, and for those of you that do not know, Trinity is the largest and richest of all  the Cambridge college’s and one of the wealthiest institutions in the country (that’s the boasting bit out of the way). It is home to some of the most famous names in history, Isaac Newton, John Ray, G.M Trevelyan, Ludwig Wittgenstein and the most important of them all A.A Milne (Winnie the Pooh) to name but a few. Many of their original writings are kept on display in the Wren library at Trinity, I will in a future blog write a little bit about the history of the college and gardens.

But my love of gardening started when I was only three, I spent many a happy hour following my Grandad round in his garden. There was no escape for my Grandad and I followed him all the way to his place of work, which was at Hemingford Grey Manor where he worked as a gardener for many years. The manor at that time was owned by Mrs Lucy Boston, who was the author of the Green Knowe books, which were based on the house and the garden. As I look back on my childhood, it was these times I spent there with my Grandad and Mrs Boston, were most definately the happiest times of my childhood. In fact it was Mrs Boston who actually encouraged me to move on and find a training scheme in horticulture………..the good old YTS.

I left school in 1986, and it was from then until 1992 I worked in the nursery trade in which I spent four consecutive years budding and grafting fruit and ornamental trees. In October 1992, I then went to work at Newhall College Cambridge (now Murray Edwards) where I became Deputy Head Gardener in July 1994. In June 1996 I hurt my back (just in time for Euro 96), but unfortunately had to leave Newhall in February 97 as my back problem wasn’t improving. After a short break I went self-employed, doing delivery work along with some gardening jobs until May 2000 when I joined the gardening team at Trinity. In October 2004 I became Deputy Head Gardener, and then in March 2010 I became Head Gardener and as they say the rest is history.

So what will I blog about in the future? Anything horticultural, everything from lawn care, propagation, plants and from time to time maybe a little of this…….

The Ramones: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

and some of this…….

Motorhead Live Ace Of Spades 

Heavy Metal/Rock, Punk and Blues music. I have spent many a happy hour with my headphones on listening to Lemmy’s dolcit tones whilst working in a herbaceous border, you do tend to weed and hoe a lot faster.

So there you have it…………

Dennis Footman

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