Next Generation Rising Stars

12 Rachel Scanlan For WebRachel Scanlan

Horticulturalist

Owner: Blooming Good Nursery Ltd, Albourne, West Sussex

How did you get into Horticulture?

I fell in love with Biology at school and started up a garden design club when I was just 13 years old. I thoroughly enjoyed my education, but after my GCSEs were over I knew what I wanted to do and I have absolutely no regrets in choosing my horticultural diploma course at Plumpton College.

I had the best time studying in such a wonderful location, met some life long friends and had the most amazing facilities and tutors to learn from.  I would recommend an agricultural career to anyone looking for a different path coming out of the private education sector.  I came from a small bubble environment to a huge eye opening one, meeting people of all ages and abilities and here I am now at 22 years old running my own business.

What makes you stand out from the crowd?

We are extremely passionate about what we do at the Blooming Good Nursery and I guess the secret to success is believing in what you do, working incredibly hard to achieve your goals and listening to your customers.

We’ve been set up only six months so our aim for this year is to really focus on growing quality plants and build on customer relations and service. By doing this we are trying to get our name recognised within the industry as a quality and reliable plant supplier, with which we can then branch out onto bigger aims for next year.

 What have been your career highlights?

After a few years experience of working as a very successful Sales Manager for two nurseries, I decided that it was time to go for my own goal of setting up my own Blooming Good Nursery with my partner Pete Fieldwick. Business is booming with up to five deliveries a day and we have some ambitious plans for the future.

How are you involved with the Society?

I sit on the Society’s Horticultural Committee and I’ve always liked to keep myself busy so I’m very much looking forward to being more involved with events and supporting the Society as much as I possibly can. When I was at College I volunteered at Nymans Gardens for two years to add to my skills and knowledge of plants so I’m always looking at ways to add to my skills and to support an industry I feel so inspired to be involved in.

What are your plans next?

We will continue to work hard and grow the business and we also want to continue to work with organisations like the South of England Agricultural Society and help them to continue to champion the Next Generation.

We really need to support our British countryside and help to keep country life alive and healthy for the future.  There is so much diversity in the courses and jobs available these days and I’m very keen to engage with younger audiences.  The Society offers a wealth of information and a network of businesses and educational establishments, most of which are represented in some way at the shows and events they run throughout the year.

What would be your advice to the next generation of thinkers and achievers in the horticultural industry?

From my experience job applications can be extremely competitive, particularly for young people. Many employers insist on previous experience within the field which is very difficult for school leavers who have just finished a gruelling few years working hard to pass exams. At the same time many will have faced driving tests and commitments both in and out of school, so making time to think about what they want to achieve and choose the right career path can be overwhelming.

My advice would be to think about what skills you are good at and what you enjoy doing as we sometimes forget that part. Do some research into activities and volunteering that you can do that will incorporate these skills. It will require hard work and effort for sometimes not a lot of return, but one day all that effort and commitment will be worth it and someone will recognise it. This experience will be invaluable, will teach you many practical skills and opportunities will arise, but most importantly of all, one day it could make you stand out from the rest of those job applicants, and could inevitably make you the top candidate for that job you applied for and really wanted.