Following a Degree in Horticulture at Bath University, Andrew started his career with Hillier Nurseries in 1974, initially as manager of the company’s garden centre in Winchester.
Andrew’s energy along with his enthusiasm for horticulture and eye for colour and design has shaped his career. Now Managing Director of Hillier Nurseries, he is responsible for the development and operation of the Hillier wholesale plant and tree nurseries and the Hillier chain of garden centres based in Southern England. In addition he is perhaps best known as designer of the Hillier exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. His garden exhibits of the last 21years have upheld the company’s unprecedented record of 65 consecutive gold medals at the show.
Andrew started the Hillier Gardening Club 20 years ago for Hillier Garden Centre customers. Three times a year, members receive a full colour magazine packed with plants and gardening advice written by him and his team. Registered membership now stands at 250,000, making it the largest club of its type in the UK.
In addition to his full time occupation with Hillier he is also a regular contributor to magazines, newspapers and BBC Radio. He lectures widely to gardening groups and societies at home and abroad and leads numerous gardening tours. Andrew’s special interests include hardy shrubs, trees, herbaceous perennials flower bulbs and garden design.
The knowledge and experience he has acquired through practical experience and through contact with many gardeners over the years is the foundation of The Hillier Gardener’s Guides. Shrubs, the lead title in the series set the standard for many more titles to come. Aimed to be the gardener’s most useful companions whatever the level of his or her experience they are base on questions asked and knowledge imparted over the years. Most recently, Andrew has published ‘Living Lawns’, ‘Book of Bulbs’ (Unwins) and the fabulously titled ‘Losing the Plot’ about how to downsize and enjoy the experience.
Andrew’s gardening knowledge has developed through hands-on experience. He and his wife Ros are both keen gardeners; their last garden at Braishfield in Hampshire was featured on television and was occasionally open to the public. Five years ago they embarked on the creation of a new two-acre garden at Sherfield English near Romsey.
Pictured with Andrew is Ricky Dorlay and 2010 is Ricky's 45th year of preparing Chelsea plant material for Hillier Nurseries. A crucial part of the team at the Hillier Cash & Carry facility in Braishfield near Romsey, Ricky spends about half his time selecting and nurturing stock for Chelsea, moving trees and plants under glass for protection against the elements, prolonging dormancy and holding plants back in the Chelsea coldstore. Ricky is quite a feature on the Hillier exhibit, well known by celebrity visitors, gardening journalists and the gardening public alike for his great charm and horticultural knowledge.