Willesden man wins a place at the Homebase Garden Academy

Gary Brennan, 23, wins place on gardening scheme with Adam Frost

Gary Brennan, 23, wins place on gardening scheme with Adam Frost - Credit: Archant

A green-fingered Willesden man has beaten hundreds of people for a place on a top gardening training programme.

Gary Brennan, 23, has been tending people’s gardens before signing up for the Homebase Garden Academy scheme which will give him a chance of showcasing his designs at next year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

He said: “Most of my knowledge is self-taught from maintenance work I have done over the years, and working at garden centres.

“I like being able to transform something, and seeing how it changes and develops.”

He added: “I was instantly attracted to the programme as it offers so much valuable gardening experience in one place, that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.”

Mr Brennan, who attended North Westminster School in Marylands Road, said he always watched TV’s Ground Force as a child before maintaining his own and other family member’s gardens, mowing lawns, cutting hedges and planting borders. “Word got round, and I then attracted attention from neighbours and local people, so I have been maintaining gardens in the Willesden area for years,’’ he said.

The Garden Academy is a new scheme set up between Homebase and Adam Frost to help raise the profile of gardening as a career, at a time when there are concerns over a shortage of young, skilled gardeners in the UK.

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Over ten months, Mr Brennan will develop his horticulture knowledge alongside Adam Frost, designer of five RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal-winning gardens, as well as helping him build The Homebase Garden – ‘Time to Reflect’ in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society at next year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show.

At the same time he’ll be working full-time at the Homebase store in Finchley Road to help customers with their gardening dilemmas.

“The scheme is a great opportunity for me to turn my passion into a career, and I can’t wait to learn from Adam Frost and pass on what I’ve learnt to people.”