Former Blue Peter gardener in new role at Ryton Organic

Chris Collins.
Chris Collins.

Garden Organic near Leamington has welcomed a former Blue Peter and Westminster Abbey gardener to join its team.

The charity, based at Ryton Organic Gardens in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, has appointed Chris Collins as its head of organic horticulture.

After training at the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh, Chris spent time working in Cameroon at the oldest botanical gardens in Africa and then in Japan, before returning to the UK in 1998 as higher botanical horticulturalist at Kew Gardens, then as head gardener at Westminster Abbey.

Chris also held the highly sought-after position of BBC Blue Peter gardener for nine years, during which he was involved in the challenging relocation of the garden from London to Media City in Manchester.

Most recently, Chris has been heavily involved with inspiring the next generation of growers through his work in schools.

He said: “It is a great honour for me to be joining the team at Garden Organic. I am a passionate believer in organic horticulture, not only for the environmental benefits it offers, but also for the role it can play in people’s social and spiritual wellbeing. Garden Organic’s principles and practices provide the perfect vehicle to engage people in this valuable subject.

“I trust the 30 plus years I have been a professional horticulturalist will play a pivotal role in promoting the important work of the members and staff of the charity.”

Garden Organic’s chief executive James Campbell said: “With more and more of our population concerned about the chemical pesticides and herbicides we encounter every day, our charity needs to support people now more than ever in discovering that there is a better way - and we’re confident Chris is the perfect person to help us deliver this message.”

As well as communicating organic growing information, Chris’s role will involve presenting at events, supporting the charity’s campaigns, and inputting into the redesign of the charity’s organic demonstration gardens in Ryton. He starts in September.

To find out more about Garden Organic, visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk