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Full of admiration yet pea green with envy...

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Anne Diamond | 15:54 UK time, Thursday, 9 June 2011

potting shed with tools

I love gardening. Not particularly good at it, but my perfect day is one spent "pottering" around my patch, watering, growing, taking cuttings and generally pootling around pretending I'm a gardener. I often think - why not give up the rat-race of trying to hold down a "proper job" and just take up gardening? Could I survive?

Well, my guest this morning has done just that, and made it work....She's Melissa Jolly - and she's already had several dream jobs. At one time, she was making TV documentaries for children about wildlife, going all over the world filming gorillas in Uganda and orcas and brown bears in Alaska. But having kids put paid to that job - so she had to think of something else, something that would be child friendly.

It's a career problem that faces so many women, and one which many of us fail to solve happily. But Melissa decided, in the end, to go into the world of garden design. Now she's award-winning and busier than ever but at least she still gets time to collect the kids from school and be a hands-on Mum. She's exhibiting a "concept garden" at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show which looks like an art gallery, but with "living" pictures, with plants inspired by some of the world's most renowned painters. It sounds amazing - as does her career-change. I'm full of admiration and also green with envy!


  • Comment number 1.

    Thank you Anne, it was lovely to meet you. You have made some very kind comments and I really appreciate that - there is no magic answer to the career or full time Mum debate. I know that I will never regret not working for the 7 years whilst the kids were very young and i hope I don't ever regret attempting to run my own business. They seem to be at the ages where they can understand what i'm doing and they both came up to Hampton Court today and helped hand out leaflets and sell plants at the end of the show and seemed to really enjoy the day - which was a lovely end to what has been a very long 4 weeks of building and being at Hampton Court.


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