Expert gardener and head RHS judge shares some top tips at Durrants Village near Horsham

Jim with the Durrants Village team
Jim with the Durrants Village team

Expert gardener Jim Buttress shared his expertise during a visit to a later living community.

Jim visited Durrants Village in Faygate to discuss how to design and maintain a patio or balcony garden and gave his top tips for creating beautiful containers and hanging baskets. He also talked about his experiences and guests had the opportunity to ask him their gardening questions. The event was enjoyed by residents of the retirement village and keen gardeners from the region.

Jim judges one of the entries to the competition

Jim judges one of the entries to the competition

Jim began his gardening career at RHS Wisley, where he trained before going on to manage numerous London parks and gardens including Hyde Park, St James’ Park, Clarence House, Buckingham Palace and Greenwich Park, and enjoyed tea with the Queen Mother. Jim has appeared on gardening television shows including the BBC’s The Big Allotment Challenge and is a regular radio presenter and guest including on BBC Radio Surrey’s Surrey Dig It gardening programme. He has most recently judged at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and continues to judge RHS flower shows across the country this summer.

In addition to his talk, Jim judged a gardening competition of residents’ gardens at Durrants Village. All of the properties at the retirement village come with either a terrace or a balcony garden. Residents Marion and Michael Higgins won Best Garden Terrace, Mary Ewing won Best Hanging Basket and Mike Revell won Best Container.

Guests enjoyed a light lunch and there was a book signing of Jim’s autobiographical book, The People’s Gardener, which was available to purchase on the day. Guests also had the opportunity to receive a tour of the village and meet residents of the community.

Liam Stack, Village manager at Durrants Village, said: “It was lovely to welcome Jim to Durrants Village for the second year running. Many of our residents are green-fingered and enjoy gardening on a smaller scale here, having downsized from homes with large gardens. It was great to see so many keen gardeners and those thinking about downsizing to come and see how manageable a smaller garden can be. We were all left inspired by Jim’s expertise and passion for gardening.”

Jim said: “It was great to return to Durrants Village today and to this year also judge the residents’ gardens. There are some very talented gardeners at Durrants and it was great to see the variety of gardens and how residents have made the most of their patio or balcony space.

“Container gardening is easy and fun to do and is much more manageable than maintaining a large garden. I can see how the homes at Durrants Village are perfect for those downsizing and looking to continue their love of gardening in retirement but on a smaller scale.”