Uckfield-based Vacher Gardens is continuing to expand four years after being founded by horticulturist Chris Vacher.
The company now operates throughout East Sussex, employs 13 people including Chris, and tackles everything from the design and maintenance of domestic gardens to sports field development and estate management.
The team includes:
Steve Veal, the most experienced member, who has been gardening professionally for more than 30 years. Steve’s forte is garden design and planting schemes but he also has expertise in vegetable cultivation. He has recently undergone advanced training on orchard pruning and is currently studying for an RHS Diploma in Horticulture at Plumpton College.
Garden craftsman Keith Rowling is a retired civil engineer. For the last couple of years he has worked mainly on landscaping but also carries out repairs and renovations to decking, sheds, fences and garden buildings generally.
And if it’s designing and building raised beds, paths, plinths for sheds, refuse storage areas and organic composting structures that is required, Keith is a dab hand at that too.
The female touch is provided by garden designer Amanda Dalgleish who is qualified in practical horticulture, and holds an RHS certificate in theoretical principles from Plumpton College.
Her knowledge and love of plants has allowed Vacher Gardens to create a variety of different plant habitats, from bog gardens to sunny herbaceous borders.
Garden team leader Tony D’alassio has built a reputation for transforming the appearance of a garden within a few hours as if by magic. He is known as Le Potager or Super Mario for his enthusiasm and speedy movement and brings a continental flavour to the team with his French/Italian roots. He is an expert in flower bed renovation, planting and orchard pruning.
Also a garden team leader is Rob Lewis-Clements who has spent the winter leading the cutting, pruning, clearance and shaping works on estate properties. He is experienced working with chainsaws and other heavy machinery and when it comes to lighting a fire he can ignite the dampest of debris in any weather.
Garden technician Peter Grundy joined the team just before Christmas and is literally ‘breaking new ground’ having spent his previous career in mechanical engineering. He brings skills and vast experience to the machinery and transport side of the business.
Another new recruit is Steve Ramsey a member of the Uckfield fire-fighting crew who has recently moved to Uckfield from Rye. Steve’s experience includes working as a green keeper at the East Sussex National golf Course.
His main duties will be helping with wicket preparation at Maresfield, Newick and Chiddingly cricket clubs.
And youth is certainly something not overlooked at Vacher Gardens.
Qualified apprentice gardener Ciaran Brown is the first to come through the ranks via Uckfield Community Technical College (UCTC) and Plumpton while trainee apprentice gardener Callum Horscroft joined the team last year also from UCTC. He is currently training at Plumpton.
Another Plumpton trainee, Toby Lodge, who is studying forestry, has also recently joined the team, and prospective apprentices from UCTC are undertaking work experience over the Easter period.
Finally, looking after all the equipment and machinery is engineer Bill Radcliffe while back at the office Gaye Nethercott looks after customer accounts.
“It has taken a while to build the team but I am happy that we now have the right blend of skills and experience to tackle any project no matter what its size,” said Chris. “It promises to be a busy and exciting future.”
Chris is always interested to hear from youngsters considering a career working outdoors as well as from experienced gardeners – particularly those with plant knowledge and fine turf or hard landscaping skills.
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