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The Association of

Senior Garden Advisors

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Mike Thurlow

Price Band B

Based in Blackwood, South Wales.


An experienced Head Gardener, Mike has covered all aspects of horticulture and has been responsible for managing three restoration projects. His main interest, apart from garden history, is growing flowers, fruit and vegetables organically.

Mike managed the restoration of Audley End Kitchen Garden, Saffron Walden, Essex returning it to working example of a Victorian Kitchen Garden using Victorian methods to grow produce to Soil Association Organic Certification Standards. During the restoration, he developed its unique collection of heritage cultivars of fruit, flowers and vegetables. The showpiece of the garden was the Vinery growing early and late vines, the late Peach House, the Orchard House and the historical collection of top fruit trees trained formally on wires and against the walls of the garden.


Mike is the Former Head Gardener of Audley End Kitchen Garden, Saffron Walden, previously working at Dyffryn Gardens, Aberglasney and Barnsdale Gardens as well as briefly lecturing at Pencoed College. He was commissioned by Hodder and Stoughton to write a Teach Yourself book on ‘Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables’, and has been a regular contributor to gardening magazines and local radio programmes

Mike is available for part-time, temporary or short-term contracts and can help you research and start your project, providing you with specialist advice when needed.  He can also help you fill a skills gap and can provide practical training in all aspects of craft gardening.

He has recently been engaged as an advisor to the Penllegare Valley Gardens Trust, Swansea, where he is providing them with advice on the restoration of the gardens.  

He is also an advisor to the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardens Society and provides practical advice and answers to members’ questions through their website.

Mike is continuing his role as a horticultural trainer, giving demonstrations, workshops and talks to private clients and gardening societies.

Over 30 years’ experience of craft gardening with extensive craft skills.

Excellent horticultural knowledge and considerable historical knowledge.

Experience of working in all outdoor areas.

o Pruning and training ornamentals.

o Pruning and training top fruit (formally trained and informally trained).

o Turf management.

o Conservation management.

Experience of working under glass.

o Propagation of plants from seed / cuttings

o Vine Management.

o Fruit management.

o Vegetable management.

o Floral displays.

Excellent plant knowledge, both heritage varieties and modern varieties.

Pest and Disease control with extensive knowledge and experience of using organic methods.

Organic conversion and certification to Soil Association standards.

Can operate a range of machinery lawnmowers, mini tractor, rotovators and smaller power tools.

Able to create, manage and monitor a budget.

Managing contracts and contractors.

Sourcing materials and supplies

Able to work to deadlines.

Managing a workforce and volunteers.

Experience of training staff and volunteers.

Experience of conducting risk assessments in line with health and safety requirements.

Good communication and public relation skills.

o Attending trade fairs, shows and events.

o Promoting gardens.

Holds a PA6 spraying licence.