A journey from seed to the internet

In 1989 my journey into the world of trees and conservation began with me becoming a Tree Warden. Little did I know what a life changing learning journey it was going to be.

I started by doing the Tree Warden courses in tree identification, planting and aftercare. My first project was to join the Tree Warden’s Native Tree Nursery which was in my parish. It became a fast learning curve going from helping to running the nursery. Moving it from bare rooted stock to root trainer trees at its peak we were supplying other Tree Wardens with a 1000 trees a year. In the early years Hound Volunteer group was formed and carried out various projects in my parish one being turning a council tip into an ecology park.

A serious accident in 1996 spelled the end to my practical conservation work. But the tree bug was now in my blood and I still felt I had to do something to help trees. I started thinking about recording all the tree growing knowledge I had learnt. Talking with my friend and mentor James Watson he suggested creating a website and sharing what I had learnt with the world. Not knowing how to even turn a computer on where do I start. So I applied for a National Pioneers award which funded the project supplying the computer and training.


In 2000 at the Itchen Valley Country Park Growingnative was launched by TV presenter Chris Packham. Over the years the site’s grown and supported other groups and Tree Council projects, it had also became a record of all my volunteer work over the last 25 years. But due to the growth of the internet and modern technology the site was becoming stale so I had to decide whether to keep it or close it down. Thanks to the generosity of Hamble Yacht Services and Friends of Priors Hill Copse funds where raised to bring the site into the 21st century. With the help of Strawberry Marketing who host the site the new look Growingnative is now launched.