If you watch QVC you’ve probably already seen Martyn live on the gardening shows. He’s an experienced presenter on the shopping channel and has been presenting plants and gardening products for several years. His knowledgeable and friendly approach is a big hit with the viewers and his obvious love of plants and plant care knowledge is popular.
Richard Jackson’s Garden is delighted to announce that Martyn will be showcasing plants and products for us on QVC and also assisting us with our website as our new Brand Ambassador.
Martyn, a very keen and knowledgeable gardener, trained in horticulture and also earned his stripes working hands-on at a plant nursery where he was nursery supervisor growing a vast range of plants from trees, shrubs, perennials, alpines and much more for several years.
That means he really knows about growing a vast range of plants and actually understands what they need and how to care for them. “ I learned the nitty gritty about plants working at the nursery, my plant knowledge grew dramatically,” says Martyn.
He even got a job at the horticultural college where he was studying and became the glasshouse technician growing cut flowers and looking after the tropical house.
“ I was doing some teaching as well and looking after the students,” he explains. “I also created all of the college’s floral decorations; they ran a service so I’d go out once a week with all the floral decorations in the back of the van for Nottingham County Hall and other venues.” All of this gave him a broader understanding of working with people, plants and even floral decoration too.
But it wasn’t just working with the plants that gave Martyn such an insight into the needs and variety of plants. He admits to taking a copy of the RHS Encyclopedia of Plants to bed with him as a teenager. “I made it a habit to learn about 5 plants every night,” he laughs.
Ironically these days he now writes books for the RHS and other publishers and has even contributed to the sister tome he used to take to bed with him, The RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques as well as The Complete Gardener’s Manual. Martyn has now written ten books and has been the gardening correspondent for the Mail of Sunday for over a decade. He was features editor on Gardeners’ World Magazine and has worked on many other gardening magazines and publications before becoming a freelance writer, contributor, consultant and presenter.
Most keen gardeners have fond memories of their parents and grandparents’ gardens. Martyn grew up in the Midlands within a family of keen and knowledgeable gardeners. “We had really, really nice gardens, that were well cared for, “he remembers. “My grandparents were fruit and veg gardeners and one of my earliest memories is riding on the back of my granddad’s moped to the allotment, where I’d be set to pick the beans. I also remember spending a lot of time in my grandparent’s garden where there was a lovely cedar greenhouse. I still remember the smell; my granddad used to plant tomatoes straight into the earth, so there was that rich smell of tomatoes, damp earth and the cedar all mixing together on a summers day and I used to love that.”
But it’s not all plants and flowers. Martyn’s a big music fan and is a regular at music gigs. “As a teenager I wanted to be a rock star,” he admits. He is also a black belt in karate and plays a lot of tennis. He lives in Southsea with his family and two dogs and has a small, packed garden where he dabbles in the dark art of cramming as many plants into a small space as possible. This is possibly a reflection of his first book Big Gardens in Small Spaces for Timber Press, which was based on his old London garden where he had a tiny plot full of wonder. His current garden is not only bashed by the sea breezes, but is also north facing, providing challenges that Martyn has had to overcome, but instead of seeing these as a problem, he has turned it around and embraced the unusual and challenging conditions.
“I love my shade loving plants so I looked at it as opportunity to grow things that I couldn’t grow if I had a south facing garden. I am really making the most of the fact that the patch is shady; I’m growing some really fantastic shade loving plants such as hostas, fatsias, tree ferns, ferns and Hydrangea quercifolia. So despite the fact that the garden is challenging I can still grow some nice things. I’ve got some rare things like Impatiens omeiana and some quite unusual climbing plants against the fence.”
Martyn will be working with and alongside Richard not just on the QVC shows but also back at base on our website, at Richard Jackson’s Garden.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Richard. I’ve known him for a long time and I’ve admired him when I’ve been at QVC, seeing how professional he is and how fantastic he is at presenting, I’m looking forward to working with him and picking up some new skills along the way.“