Customer trial panel member Harry Cook has many years of gardening experience, winning several awards for his own garden displays. He made the news last year when he stopped thieves from taking his award-winning petunias!
My name is Harry Cook. I stared gardening at a young age when I helped a relative on an allotment growing potatoes and vegetables. I also won a competition for ‘Best Preparation of a Seed Bed’ at Brooksby Agriculture college when I was in the Young Farmers’ club.
I left school at 15 and went to work at Whatton House working for Lord Crawshaw in the gardens. I then went to work for Loughborough Parks Department for 17 years, firstly working on sports grounds and playing fields and then moving onto tractors and machinery, before finally being made up to charge hand doing ground maintenance. I then moved on to work for a construction firm for 35 years driving heavy plant.
When l retired l had a lot more time for my garden and started to enter my front garden into competitions. l entered Loughborough in Bloom and won 3 trophies. l was also entered into the RHS East Midlands in Bloom for ‘Best Front Garden’, winning 3 Frank Constable Gold awards. l have also entered Garden News competitions, winning the Unsung Hero Award for the work l do for the community.
l have been doing customer trials for Thompson & Morgan for 3 years, which l really enjoy. The front garden is quite small, but l put up lots of baskets and tubs around it. I also put flowers on top of the bay window and over the front door, which makes it look twice as big. l have adopted some of the council-owned land at the front of the house (with their permission). The house sits next to a very busy roundabout, which brings its own problems, but the joy the garden brings to other people makes all the hard work worthwhile.