About Me

Hello!

My work combines my two great loves - gardening and photography. I love the physical challenge of gardening and the cerebral challenge of planting schemes and garden design. Working outdoors means I am around my favourite subject matter of flowers, plants and bees. I specialize in plant portraits, close up and macro work.

The photography and gardening have a wonderful, symbiotic relationship. As the seasons wax and wane the gardening work gives way to photography sales over the Christmas period and they both hold each other in balance.

Qualifications & Training

Waterperry

Gardening:

I studied RHS Level 2 in Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance at Pershore Horticultural College in 2015. I am now studying RHS Level 3 in Garden Planning, Construction and Planting at University of Bristol Botanic Gardens.

Alongside my studies I am lucky enough to be mentored by Waterperry Head Gardener Pat Havers.  I am able to turn to Pat for advice and guidance when needed, and particularly value her knowledge and experience of growing the wide variety of roses that I come across in urban gardens.

Active memberships:

  • Women's Farm and Garden Association (WFGA)
  • Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)

Additional training: WFGA Rose Pruning & WFGA Fruit Tree Pruning, Baxter's Farm, Cirencester.

Photography:

After an enquiry to his Close Up Photography Masterclass, I found myself in the unexpected, but fortunate position of being offered mentoring from Clive Nichols for my photographic career development.  I am currently in the process of applying to the Garden Media Guild for Probationary Membership status.

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Exhibitions & Events

The Better Food Company Cafe

AUGUST 2016:

  • 24th July - 20th August: Better Food Company Cafe, St Werburghs, Bristol

FEBRUARY 2015:

  • 8th February - 8th March: Better Food Company Cafe, St Werburghs, Bristol

MAY 2015:

  • 7th - 10th May: RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Garden Lifestyle section in Wye Hall

JUNE - DEC 2015:

  • The Coffee Box, Clements Street, Leamington Spa. Cards and coasters also for sale
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Media & Awards

Coaster display at RHS Malvern 2015

18th March 2015 - BBC Radio Bristol - invited onto the Steve Yabsley Lunchtime Show for a chat about all things photography and gardening, and starting up in business.

Feb 2015 - Bishopston Voice - local newsletter, print run 12,000 to Bristol neighbourhoods of Bishopston, Redland and St Andrews: http://www.bishopstonvoice.co.uk/shelley-snaps-up-new-career.html

June 2012 – Guardian Green Shoots - Bud
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2012/aug/14/fruits-summer-green-shoots

May 2012 – Daisy and Bee
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2012/may/08/bees-green-shoots

Feb 2012 – Guardian Green Shoots – Bee
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2012/mar/07/early-signs-spring-green-shoots

2011 – Westonbirt Arboretum Autumn Competition Third Place - Spindle Berries

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Biog

Harold Wareham - back row, stripey blazer

Career Background:

After completing a BA in Social Anthropology at Sussex University I started out on a graduate scheme at a global brand consultancy. A chance reading of The Lorax by Dr Seuss, combined with No Logo by Naomi Klein made me realise that the world of marketing was not for me... and so I moved on to work in the charity sector. From 2002 to the summer of 2014 I spent twelve extremely enjoyable years working at the Prince's Trust where I managed and delivered the Enterprise and Awards programmes in the South West region. I helped unemployed young people start up their own business, running enterprise courses both in the community and in prisons as well as training up business mentors and funding panel members. It is a wonderful charity that can change lives for the better.

A general life reassessment in 2014 made me realise that I wanted to travel less, garden more and change the rhythm of my life. With such a good grounding in business start up, self employment seemed the natural way forward and each stage of the business has grown organically.

Gardening:

Initial focus on garden maintenance grew to encompass part time studies in garden planning, maintenance and design, first at Pershore Horticultural College (RHS Level 2) and then University of Bristol Botanic Garden (RHS Level 3).  My studies have given me a good grounding in garden maintenance as well as develop skills for planting schemes and the fundamental principles of garden design.

I have previously volunteered in the gardens at the Penny Brohn Cancer Help Centre and have an ongoing interest in the role of therapeutic horticulture.

My approach is one of sustainable gardening and I endeavour to recycle garden waste on site where possible. I seek out ways to combine plants for pollinators into my planting designs to encourage biodiversity within the garden setting and I look  to use minimal chemical control to support local wildlife populations.

Photography:

I took up photography in 2011 and have had work featured in The Guardian Green Shoots, as well as coming Third Place in the Westonbirt Arboretum Autumn Competition 2011. As the gardening work grew busier I would throw my camera in my bag and found it provided the perfect opportunity to photograph my favourite subjects of plants, flowers and bees. I love finding the secret beauty that is all around us, yet unseen. Unremarkable moments in nature that upon closer inspection offer up the most breath taking surprises, rewarding us for our decision to stop and look more closely. My photography allows me to share my discoveries of nature’s beauty with others and I get great joy from this.

What started off as a hobby has now become a developing arm of the business and is going from strength to strength - selling prints, canvases, calendars, coasters and greeting cards both through the website and at RHS flower shows and local fairs.

The final part of my business start up story that makes me smile the most is that I recently found out some family history. My mother's cousin wrote to me to say how pleased she was that I was carrying on the family tradition. "What family tradition?" I asked. It turns out the reason my grandfather grew dahlias so prolifically is that his brother Harold Wareham ran a nursery in partnership with John Crutchfield in Surrey. Not only did they grow dahlias at the nursery - they bred them! I found the notes from RHS Wisley Dahlia trials throughout the 1960s... and all their dahlias are listed. There is even one named after my mum's cousin 'Jane Wareham'. When I heard this I just thought, is why gardening feels so right? I have no idea how genetics works but I know I have always loved gardening, and when I decided to become a gardener and garden photographer, the only way I can describe it is that I feel I have come home to myself.

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