Alan Sargent has been involved in professional horticulture for more than fifty years, both as a general gardener, landscaper and Head Gardener (Goodwood Estate), holding various offices and positions (see www.alansargent.co.uk) including seventeen years active within The British Association of Landscape Industries. (1978 – 1995)
In 1995 he founded The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), which is the largest organisation devoted to Domestic Landscapers in the UK. (The APL is now part of The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA)
In 2016 he founded The Professional Garden Consultants Association (PGCA) which is the largest organisation devoted solely to Professional Garden Consultants in the UK.
He is a published author (Head Gardeners Survival Manual (2012), Landscapers Survival Manual (2013) and Employing a Head Gardener of Gardens Manager (2017). He produces a regular column for The Horticulture Week (since 2012) and in 2018, was presented with The Outstanding Contribution To The Industry Award at the Custodian of the Year ceremony at Woburn (Parks & Gardens Live 2018)
For many years, Alan has been aware of a growing demand from customers, Landscape Architects, Garden Designers and Design & Build Landscapers for professional gardeners, willing and able to maintain newly built gardens for a period of time (six to twelve months) after completion to ensure the well-being and desired growth of freshly planted gardens.
There are thousands of professionals who offer mowing, hedge cutting and weeding, but there is a great shortage of skilled all round Professional Gardeners, with experience of maintaining and nurturing complex garden projects, often involving more than one discipline e.g. vegetables, trees, shrubs, herbaceous, greenhouses and conservatories, all of which demand a wide range of specialist skills that may only be found in those trained at looking after gardens in a meaningful manner over a considerable period of time.
Indeed, many thousands of garden owners are also seeking genuine professionals to look after their gardens! Trying to find such individuals is very difficult. Without trial and error, it is hard to establish and ascertain the skills levels of gardeners. The Independent Professional Gardeners Association was formed to attract those steeped and skilled in ‘proper, old fashioned gardening’, who can provide tangible evidence of a substantial background and history of establishing and maintaining high quality gardens.