Alan Gardner

Alan Gardner - The Autistic Gardener
Alan Gardner – The Autistic Gardener

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.

The Autistic Gardener, Channel 4
Alan’s Garden at RHS Chelsea 2015
Image c/o Sara Griffiths

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.