Tom Sharples, currently Senior Horticultural Manager at Suttons is retiring after 44 years with the company.
Tom initially joined the group with sister company, Dobies as Trial Grounds Manager when the company was based in Llangollen, North Wales. He then took charge of young plants and was responsible for the introduction of the first seedlings and plug plants available to the home gardener, way back in 1977.
Tom then was additionally put in charge of Dobies catalogue, a position he held until the takeover of Dobies by Suttons and subsequently moved down to Devon. He was then given responsibility for the production of both Suttons and Dobies mail order catalogues.
A further move took Tom to the retail side of Suttons as Marketing manager with further responsibility for product development, which among other things involved considerable travel around the world, looking for new and interesting seed and plant varieties and growing techniques suitable for the home gardener.
Latterly in his time with the company, Tom adopted a training and advisory role, mentoring young horticulturalists joining the company.
Tom is not planning to put his feet up in his retirement and will continue with his judging Britain in Bloom and RHS trials, together with lecturing, writing, copy proofing etc.
He is also hoping to get involved in ‘putting something back’ in an industry he loves by working with schools, parents and children to encourage and improve gardening knowledge.
Tom has made a huge contribution to both Suttons and Dobies over all those years and his legacy lives on in those with whom he has shared his immense knowledge.
Although he is ‘retiring’ he will be continuing to help us develop our Group discount scheme for allotmenteers and horticultural groups and we look forward to also continuing to see him around the office and playing an active part in the development of our trials grounds over the coming months and years.