About

My name is Richard Dee

I come from a farming and market gardening background in West Cornwall and have always been interested in gardening and country matters.

I obtained a H.N.D. in Commercial Horticulture at Writtle Agricultural College, Essex in 1976, after which I spent a couple of years as a foreman on a glasshouse nursery in Sussex growing sweet peppers by Nutrient Film Technique (hydroponics).

Then I spent a couple of years in Saudi Arabia as area manager of large scale landscaping projects. Returning home to Cornwall in the early 1980`s I became head gardener of Enys,
a historically important Cornish garden that had suffered decades of neglect and was in a comparable state to Heligan when discovered by Tim Smit.

After 14 years of almost single-handed restoration and replanting I took up the position of kitchen garden foreman at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in 1996. In early 1997 I became head gardener and became responsible for a staff of 22 gardeners who were in the process of restoring the horticultural practices and techniques of the Victorian era.

During my time as head gardener we developed the cropping plans and annual routines in the vegetable and cut flower gardens and various glasshouses and frames.

We managed to grow the first crop of pineapples at Heligan for over a century using eighteenth century technology in the manure heated pineapple pits.

We also developed the ornamental grounds bringing them back to a state of care that would have been recognisable to the gardeners of old.

Prior to my leaving in 2000 I helped set up the farming and wildlife project encompassing the wider estate to show that the countryside can be farmed and managed in a sustainable way to the benefit of those living and working in the country and of wildlife and the environment.

Since 2000 I have been working for myself as a garden designer, landscaper and consultant. Being self-employed I have taken on a wide range of projects from garden clearances to design and planting of both modern and traditional gardens.

Although much of my past experience involved historic woodland gardens I have had an interest in seaside gardens since living in Penzance as a youngster and have designed and planted several over the past few years.