We have a new member of the PlantGrow family! Our latest PlantGrow is Kenny Raybould from @prince_ofplants, a garden designer, grower and florist that’s worked on many exciting projects that you might have heard of. We caught up with him to find out about how he got into gardening and his tips for new gardeners.
Kenny Raybould is a designer, grower, florist and gardener.
“I have moved through many sides of the industry, most of it by luck, but it has led me to work for many cool locations from Leeds Castle in Kent, to Covent Garden and now Merryhue Farm in Cornwall. All of my roles have been about inspiring and making things even more floral for the future. From creating a garden for Game of Thrones, to floral pianos, market gardens and displays for the G7, the floral fun has got everywhere. As you can tell, flowers are my personal love!”
Kenny got into gardening at a young age. “My mother still says ‘Kenny, you were born loving two things: Christmas and plants!’ and that really hasn’t changed. When I was at school gardening wasn’t cool, so it was hard to relate to my peers when they were talking about their PS2 and I was thinking about foxgloves.”
But sixth form is when it all changed. “I hated it. A friend said to me, ‘Why don’t you try Hadlow College? They do plants and stuff Kenny!’ so I applied late and got allocated a place to start the next week… And the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve spent eight years in education – I love learning.”
Using gardening to feed the mind
Kenny believes that gardening is a different experience for all of us.
“For me, it’s a passion as well as my meditation time. At work I am a horticulturalist, and at home I’m a gardener. The garden time is a time for me to drink coffee, watch the bees and see how many more plants I can buy, but better still – it’s the one moment I get to stop and just be with nature’s creation. It really brings to light how lucky I am.”
Kenny’s home garden is only a year old, but it’s already thriving.
“Because of the organic approach we have taken, we have what feels like every insect in Plymouth living with us! We recognised the need for greater greenery in a city space, the love of plants and the need for cleaner air and to collect rainwater, but it had to be done in a way that would support, inspire and protect this slice of Blighty that we call home.
“That’s why for me, organic, natural – whatever you wish to call it – is important when creating a garden space. ‘A little for me, the rest for the bees’ as they say! I like to think that growing Intune with our world, however small, means we have helped save something.”
Kenny feels strongly about sustainable gardening. “Our world is in a really bad state and we have to become resilient in the face of what’s to come. To do this, we really must develop and inspire new ways of gardening. Products such as PlantGrow that aim to do that really resonate with me.
As gardeners, we have a natural desire to protect the space we grow in, especially the soil – no soil, no planet. We have such a beautiful world, and we must protect it at all costs. A future with no worms, no polar bears and no rainforest really isn’t worth the use of things like garden chemicals and peat, all because people say it’s better for one’s petunias.”
Kenny’s message to new gardeners of today
“Question everything you learn. Don’t be shy to ask why. Don’t be afraid to get things wrong – I can’t tell you how many plants I have killed over the years in my bid for knowledge! But ultimately, enjoy the journey and you will never stop learning. Don’t think for a second that you can know it all – after all these years, I feel like I know less now than I did when I was 17, and that’s bloody fantastic.”
Why Kenny decided to join the PlantGrow family
“I am a big fan of supporting the localised economy – support local, act global. PlantGrow and that lovely purple tone is the very best of a UK, family-owned product. A family that have thought about their footprint with a goal to simply help inspire and change the future for the better. For me, the friendship, family fun and bid for sustainable growing really drew me in.
“Also, the mulch mix really helps stop the slugs… Though slugs are needed, they are not wanted near my hostas ever!
“Finally, we are all in this together and the more we can support the good people of horticulture, like PlantGrow, the more we can change the world and our hideous reliance on things like peat, oil and chemical fertilisers.
“Keep growing and stay fabulous!”
Why we’re welcoming Kenny as a PlantGrow Champion
We love Kenny’s passion for gardening and sustainability. We know that he cares about reducing his impact on the environment, and his advice to new gardeners reflects our own thoughts – there’s no need to be afraid of making mistakes, since you’re always learning!
Catch Kenny on Instagram at @prince_ofplants.