Alan has Asperger’s Syndrome.
He was 15 when his love of gardening flourished. He puts it down to two things – a cactus he purchased from a local florist which he nurtured on his bedroom window sill and a seed catalogue.
‘When I looked at that catalogue and saw all the things that you could grow the family garden quickly became a menagerie,’ says Alan. ‘To be honest, it was a welcome relief to my parents as neither of them were gardeners.’
Since then, Alan’s never looked back – he went on to work for the Birmingham Parks Department before setting up on his own as a garden designer in 1986.
Over the years, Alan has created 40 Royal Horticultural Society gardens and won numerous awards at Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton Park. Most recently, Alan won a silver medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.
‘Gardens make me feel happy, says Alan. ‘I have the need to grow plants. I have the need to plant seeds and watch them grow. I like being outside, I like being in the environment, I like every kind of weather, the light. Every good gardener needs to love the outdoors.’
Alan lives with his wife, Mandy, and their three children in the Midlands.