The Questions - Gary Philpotts

It has been a while since I have had a new 'The Questions' post and when I was asked if  I wanted to interview Gary Philpotts, Chairman of the Common Sense Gardening Group I thought that this was a good reason to use the format again.
The Common Sense Gardening Group were set up by the Crop Protection Association.  Their aim is to provide customers/gardeners and retailers with advice on how to use, store and dispose of garden-chemicals safely and carefully.  I know that many of you will read this and not approve of the use of chemicals in our gardens.  It is for this very reason that I think such an initiative is important.  If people continue to use chemicals and non-organic methods then it is best they do so with the best possible advice and information so they understand and know what they are doing.  Many gardeners do not use any chemicals, many do not use any except when it comes to slug control - or a specific weed control - or that other thing that they think they cannot manage without using such products.  We all have serious concerns about our environment: about the loss of bees, about damage to our soil and watercourses.  I believe that education and information is the only way that we can steer people in the right direction.

The Common Sense Gardening Group carried out some research that found that 46% of the people who answered their survey believed that investing in their gardens gave them a feel-good factor.  38% of the respondents also believed that the garden was an extension of how they were perceived by others.  One of the biggest concerns that the Common Sense Gardening Group believes gardeners have is how to deal with weeds quickly and effectively.

The Questions

In which garden do you feel happiest?
Our garden, my wife Denise and I have cared for and loved it for 27 years. Our children grew up in it and now our granddaughters play and our friends relax in it.
If you could only have five gardening tools, which would they be?
Secateurs, garden fork, lawn mower, hedge cutter, good pair of gloves.
If you could only have five garden-related books, which would they be?
I don’t have many, I usually use Pinterest for inspiration and the RHS website for information.
What was the most defining moment of your life so far?
Meeting my wife. She helped me understand what is really important in life.
What are you most proud of?
My children and grand children.
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Pay off my children’s mortgages.
Who are your garden heroes (no more than three)
I don’t really have any, but anyone who can bring happiness to others through gardening.
What skill would you like to learn and why (does not have to be gardening related)
To finally play my guitar, I have been trying on and off for years.
If you could visit any garden right this minute, which one would it be?
I love walled gardens and Crathes Castle, Scotland is outstanding.
What is your current plant obsession?
I have fallen in love with Digitalis recently.
Which garden tool is never far from your hand?
My trusty secateurs
What is your favourite gardening/plant related word?
What do you wish you could do better?
Take more risk
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?
Empathy, tolerance and patience.
What makes a perfect day for you?
A sunny day in the garden, the morning tinkering in the garden and mowing the lawn, and afternoon with our granddaughers and a chilled evening our friends…. Perfect.
If you had one piece of advice to offer to someone what would it be?
Life is always in flux, enjoy the good times when you have them as they will not last forever, but equally don’t worry about the bad times, they will also pass.
Gnome or no-gnome?
Definitely NO GNOME.

with grateful thanks to Emma at Redhead PR