Hailing from Deal in Kent, Frances, 24, is currently living in Edinburgh studying Horticulture with Plantsmanship at the Royal Botanic Garden. Before her studies in Edinburgh, Frances worked for two-and-a-half years at the Salutation Gardens in Sandwich, Kent, where she completed a one-year apprenticeship before working there as a professional gardener.
How are you enjoying your first TV gardening programme?
I am really enjoying the experience of working on Love Your Garden. It’s such an unexpected opportunity to see a whole new side to the industry and to learn a lot from my co-presenters and the team. Obviously Alan Titchmarsh is a wealth of knowledge, but the experience in different sectors of the horticulture industry that Katie Rushworth, David Dodd and David Domoney have, has also allowed me to learn about varied aspects of the industry. But as well as being a fascinating experience it is also proving to be a very enjoyable one. The whole team are so welcoming and friendly and so far have been a pleasure to work with.
What’s your role in the programme?
My role is predominantly plant-based. I am working in the garden throughout the whole construction of the site and although I give a helping hand with the landscaping when it is needed, my main role is as a plants person. As well as this, I have some pieces of presenting to do explaining what I am doing or breaking down the method of constructing certain features etc.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while filming?
The biggest challenge so far has been to overcome my shyness when presenting. It is something entirely new to me and I think will still take some getting used to! I am not naturally extroverted!
At what age did you get into gardening?
Having always helped a little at home, I started gardening at a fairly young age. I particularly remember being given a large planter by my mother at the age of seven and designing that, (rather over ambitiously as it turned out – terracing in a pot constructed by a seven-year-old doesn’t work well it seems!) I did not consider horticulture as a career, however, until I was 20. After leaving school I worked at Marks and Spencer for some years while also completing a foundation course in Art and Design. However, by chance, saw an advert for an apprentice gardener and went for it. It was a bit of a gamble but one that I am really happy I took.
What inspires you most about the future of gardening?
The thing that I most enjoy about gardening is the physical aspect to it. It is a very fulfilling occupation. To work very hard for something – both in the planning and the construction – and then once it is finished to be able to enjoy the space you have created as well as use the produce you have grown, it is a humbling but also inspiring experience. I believe the future of gardening lies in getting more people involved in this. This could be achieved by getting people involved with the reconstruction of their communities and teaching children more about horticulture and how to grow things in schools.
Love Your Garden is on ITV, Tuesdays from 8pm until 9pm.