“It's throwing away the rule book and redefining how the industry works.” That's the verdict of horticulturist Jamie Butterworth, and he's got our intention spot-on as we welcome him as a permanent member of our team at London Stone.
Jamie, who trained at Askham Bryan and RHS Garden Wisley, is well known as a dynamic force in the plant world. A finalist in BBC3's Young Gardener of the Year 2011, he's since featured in BBC coverage of RHS Chelsea, been a regular guest on James Max's Saturday morning show on Radio London, and popped up on Gardeners' Question Time on BBC Radio 4. Jamie co-founded YoungHort in 2013, with the aim of encouraging more young people to choose horticulture as a career. An avid plantsman, for the past two years he's worked as Show Plant Manager at Hortus Loci wholesale nursery, liaising with top designers and landscape architects while growing plants for all the major RHS shows.
This is one reason we're so pleased Jamie is joining us. “Taking Jamie on is really about improving service to landscapers and designers,” says our MD, Steve Walley. “We want to offer specialist planting advice in conjunction with stone advice.”
It's something that excites Jamie too. “It's such blue sky thinking. A stone company to employ a horticulturist is about as blue sky as it gets. The industry should be working together, but it's quite fragmented. As a plantsman, I had no idea how the hard landscaping industry worked, but designers, landscapers, nurseries, stone specialists; we all need to link together to create the most beautiful gardens. No-one outside the industry thinks in terms of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ landscaping.
Jamie will be on-hand to offer a free service to landscapers and designers, advising on planting plans and consulting on the best plants to go with different stone types and colouring. You can expect us to be liaising with nurseries too, as we continue in our quest to make your job of building better gardens as easy and seamless as possible.
Jamie will be at SGD Cluster meetings and working closely with Steve and Garden Design Director, Craig Potter, developing new services, including a free series of basic horticultural courses for landscapers. These will be carefully focused on giving landscapers greater confidence when discussing plants, and the emphasis will be on facilitating conversations with garden designers.
All of us in the landscaping world aim to create gardens to the highest standard, but sometimes language gets in the way of communicating our ideas. We're looking to ensure that, with an increased understanding of basics resulting from our courses, we'll all find communication easier and quicker between every projects' vital contributors.
Already an RHS Ambassador, a role he’ll will be continuing, Jamie will be upskilling staff in our showrooms, so we can give broader advice when you come to discuss stone. And there'll be even more reason to drop in to our M25 showrooms, too, when he adds a special something to our display areas with new planting.
Jamie only joined us this week and we've already been bowled over by his enthusiasm. It might be “throwing away the rule book” to bring a horticultural specialist in to offer advice, but bringing Jamie's knowledge to you is another step towards making London Stone the leading stone company for all-round customer service.
If you'd like to find out more, or ask Jamie's advice about plants for your latest project, then just pick up the phone and call us, or drop us an email.