Andy Whelan joins Gardenforum

We are delighted to have coaxed Andy Whelan out of retirement to become an additional member of the Gardenforum team on a consultancy basis.  His experience and contacts within the horticultural sector will be most useful when covering industry news.

He will join me at the HTA National Plant Show and would love to meet you.

Here are some words from Andy

When George asked me to come out of retirement and give some help with articles on Gardenforum I was both surprised and pleased.

Surprised because I’d never given any thought to returning to an industry that I had worked in since my 20’s (a very long time ago)! Pleased because I have always admired Gardenforum and its insightful comments on our industry.

I blame my Grandad for my interest in plants and gardening. He encouraged me to help mow the grass in his lovely garden, and water and feed the staggeringly large number of tomatoes that he grew in his large greenhouse. I’d never planned to work in Garden Centres. After University, I took a summer job at Peter Adams Garden Centre in Muswell Hill whilst I looked for a proper job. For some reason, the gardening bug really bit me – and 46 years later I was still working in the trade!

Over the years, I’ve worked for independent garden centres as a plant area manager, a store manager; in a chain as a Group Buyer, then moved to the Dark Side, selling houseplants to DIY and supermarkets. After a few stressful years as a buyer for an international cut flower company I ended up in a variety of business-facing roles at the HTA. I flirted with running my own business until Covid hit, and decided to retire in 2021, after my wife’s long illness and subsequent death from breast cancer.

In the last 2 years Ive been trying to keep up with maintaining my large garden and found a new interest in photography. Perhaps I’ll find a way to combine those two things in my work for Gardenforum. I’ve also walked 2 Mighty Hikes - 26 miles each -  for Macmillan Cancer Support, raising over £4000 for the charity.

I’ve made many friends in the industry over the past years and I’m looking forward to rekindling some of those relationships and hearing your stories. See you soon!

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Here's what others have said...
Jane,  31 May 2023:
...Well done Andy, You will be a valuable addition to the Gardenforum team
Neil,  31 May 2023:
...All the best Andy, this retirement thing is not all its cracked up to be, you must come over to Barters if you get a chance
Pat,  31 May 2023:
...Andy, welcome to the team. Looking forward to working with you.

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