Tracey’s Green Fingers

Meet Tracey Burfield, Senior Gardener for Tony Heywood Landscapes.

1Can you explain your role in one sentence?I am a Senior Gardener for Tony Heywood Landscapes and I am responsible for maintaining the gardens around the Hyde Park Estate for the Church Commissioners.

2How long have you been doing this job for?Eight years now. I have always had a passion for gardening but suffered with terrible hay fever as a child and deliberately did not pursue this interest any further. My background is in catering and whilst working as a sugar craft teacher, I started taking homeopathic medicine to treat a skin allergy caused by the sugars. By a strange coincidence, the medicine also helped with my hay fever and I decided to explore the possibility of gardening as a career.

3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?By design. I enrolled myself on a Garden Design course at Capel Manor which is a specialist environmental college in North London. Whilst studying for my Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications I took up some part time agency work and was introduced to Tony Heywood and Alison Condie. I loved working for Tony Heywood Landscapes and after receiving my qualifications and doing some travelling, I managed to convince the team to take me on full time.

4What is the best part of your role?Being able to be in a job where I can be outdoors and connected to nature. I get a real buzz about creating bird boxes / bug houses and love bringing wildlife into people’s gardens.

5What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job?I have on a few occasions been asked to water plastic plants, this always gives me a chuckle.

6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?I love to travel and recently visited Thailand and Singapore. The green spaces in Singapore were particularly amazing and filled me with lots of inspiration for work. I am also a keen photographer and will often wake up very early in the morning during the summer to capture different parts of London at sunrise.

7What do you like about this area?Marble Arch has a great sense of community. Despite being in the hustle and bustle of central London there is a real village atmosphere. Our clients (the Church Commissioners) and the residents are always very welcoming, it feels like a second home.

8Where is your favorite place to go for lunch in the area?We usually bring in our own pack lunches as we are often very muddy from the morning’s work. However, I do really enjoy Kurobuta. They produce amazing Japanese Street food and their sharing platters make for a real social experience.

9Who is your hero and what is it about them that inspires you?It would have to be Sir David Attenborough. He has such a passion for what he does and through his life’s work he has changed the way millions of people view our planet. It is amazing to think he is now 94.

10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?The Galapagos Islands. The islands unique wildlife and vegetation make for a photographer’s paradise. I am particularly keen to see the Galapagos Dragon!