In the beginning…

Early landscape days

It’s been a few years since I started working in horticulture, ok it’s been a good few years ! 46 years to be precise.
In the early days , it was a matter of helping a friends dad’s forestry business when home from boarding school.
During the christmas break we would plant new forests, usually mixed hardwood or conifer only on a 5ft (1.4m) grid.
To keep warm we would build a small fire and toast our sandwiches whilst drinking Bovril – a hot peppery beef broth.
The spring breaks would be a rush to finish planting the bare root 2+2 plants before Easter the traditional time to stop planting , as buds were breaking dormancy and plants would shrivel and die, rather than develop.
Lunch was often a traditional ploughman’s at a nearby pub.
We did a rough estimate of how many trees we started, most days we managed about 1400 slit planted saplings, so it was way over 500,000 plants.
The summer would bring the weeding season, cutting down the 6ft high weeds of brambles and foxgloves with out damaging the newly growing saplings.. it was hot sweaty, muscle building work, but great fun. Well that is until a pheasant launched itself from the cover and caused your heart to miss a beat or it flew past.
The worst though was saved for the ground bees and hornets, and the absolute worst was rushing down a hillside to avoid the swarm chasing you along the very neat 3ft (1m) wide corridor you had just created !
Sure kept you fit !

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Chris Coope

Author: Chris Coope

Born in Great Britain, Chris Dyson-Coope followed his training and passion in the field of horticulture for decades. This path led him to multiple awards for landscape design and many prestigious projects in the United Kingdom and the U.S. Chris has received 19 national awards for projects as varied as city parks, urban regeneration, playgrounds, office parks and streetscapes. He pioneered the use of designer drives in the 1980s utilizing Permacrib to create structural green walls and award-winning green roofs in London. Most recently, Dyson-Coope has nurtured his interest as an educational innovator to produce an Internet radio show (, books on landscaping, and a series of fictional children's books that explore non-fictional themes such as sustainable agriculture, geography, and history. Convinced that the younger generation can (and must) learn from the older generation, as well as blazing new paths toward a sustainable future for a planet in deep distress from climate change and unsustainable practices, Dyson-Coope presents workable solutions in multiple formats, from books to inventions, podcasts and educational media. With several horticultural patents to his credit, the noted horticulturalist looks to the future with hope that the younger generation will grab the "torch" of innovation to develop and maintain a more sustainable world for us all. Dyson-Coope is a member of The Chartered Institute of Horticulture and serves as Director of Children's Sustainable Education for Energime University. Chris lives in Weston, Missouri, with his lovely wife, Cindi.

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