A successful horticulturalist from the North East has returned to where it all began as he joins East Durham College’s Houghall Campus Plant Centre as its newest member of staff.
Ross Weightman, 46, from Easington Village, is a former student of the college’s Houghall campus in Durham. At the age of 16, Ross began what was to be a life-long career in horticulture, moving on to higher education at Pershaw College of Horticulture before working in garden centres and nurseries all over the country, as well as working in the biggest Azalea nursery in the southern hemisphere while on a gap year in Australia.
After returning, Ross set up his own business outside Easington Village, where he worked for 18 years before selling up the business to focus more on his own family home redevelopment, and doing freelance landscaping work.
Ross decided to apply for the position at Houghall after finding that an early retirement wasn’t quite for him.
“I saw this position become available for 20 hours a week. I thought that it would suit me right down to the ground as I was looking for something with a routine.” said Ross.
“I hope to use my experiences building my own business, my planting knowledge and my knowledge of commercial production to help to keep growing and improving the range of plants and offerings at the Houghall Plant Centre. This is where I started my horticulture career and I’m looking forward to putting something back into the college that started it all.”
Already looking ahead to the future, Ross is hoping to turn the plant centre into a niche centre which will will stock a range of standard plants, as well as a range of more unique plants such as hardy ferns and Hostas.
For those considering a career in horticulture, Ross also has some advice. He said: “It’s a hard career, but it’s also very rewarding. If you like being outdoors it’s a fabulous career and you can always find work anywhere in the world in horticulture.”