Marty and I went to school together. We both loved the countryside and spent every spare moment running around the downs and climbing trees, riding our bikes down bumpy tracks and scraping our knees sliding down chalk pits.
I suppose it was a free childhood and one that probably wouldn’t be possible today. We had a great time and certainly kept fit. We weren’t indoors watching TV or playing games on a computer.
We went through junior school, then secondary and when it came time to decide on careers we both wanted to do something outdoors. We couldn’t bear the thought of spending life behind a desk so we wracked our brains, wrote lists and flicked through the Yellow Pages looking for inspiration.
In the end it was Marty’s grandad who suggested learning gardening, but not just digging and planting, we should study and discover the science behind the grunt work. So off we both went to technical college and learned about landscape gardening. I don’t think it was called that but the course covered everything we’d need to get started on our chosen path.
After college we went separate ways and Marty joined a local gardener whilst I worked for a tree surgeon for a while. We both learned a great deal before moving on to other companies where we complemented our knowledge by learning about other facets of landscaping. While I joined a trout farm, my friend joined forces with a partner and started a fencing business.
Marty remained a fencer for some years, while I switched jobs a couple of times, working for local builders and discovering how to build such things as brick walls and stone patios. I also learned woodworking skills as one of my employers built wooden decking and pergolas, as well as garden buildings.
It was all great grounding and those 15 years after school taught us a lot about a variety of landscaping skills.
At the age of 33 Marty and I had a long heart-to-heart over a few beers. We worked out a plan to become rich, or at least enhance our incomes. We’d work together and set up our own landscape gardening company. We’d employ staff, build a big business and be the best landscapers in the area.
So that’s what we did.