Richard Harrison the Australian author of The Export Gardener – a lighthearted, comical memoir of how he set about launching an Australian garden maintenance franchise in the UK, despite the fact he had no knowledge or gardening experience whatsoever.
You might think that would be a recipe for disaster, and sometimes it is, but thanks to Richard’s positive attitude, he makes the most out of every situation to grow his business.
What I enjoyed most about The Export Gardener is Richard’s sense of humour and his dogged determination to make his business a success.
You become absorbed in the adventure, as Richard goes the through the trials and tribulations of finding somewhere to live and setting up his business on a shoestring budget, having little to no help from banks to finance it.
You feel for Richard, as with no experience of gardening whatsoever, he had a lot to learn.
‘The rest of the exhibition was largely uneventful, as I spend most of the time perched on a stool, racking my brains as to how on earth you put stripes on a lawn.’
Another interesting moment is when he discovers stinging nettles for the first time.
Throughout this book we follow Richard’s journey from his sometimes awkward first clients, to the gems that gave him hope and encouragement to make his business a success.
The Export Gardener gives a window on the varied tasks that come with looking after a garden, but also of the unique and individual characters that make up the UK population. Some of Richard’s clients are fussy, rude, and downright outrageous, whereas others are kind, patient and generous (and just bite their lip and smile when Richard demolishes their prized rhododendron).
While The Export Gardener is a book that any gardening enthusiast will enjoy, it is also one that any entrepreneur will identify with. Sometimes, running your own business franchise can bite you on the ass, and is never without risk.
I recommend this book to anyone who works hard in the garden, as well as to those who want to start their own gardening or handyman business. If you are looking for great gift ideas for gardeners, you won’t go wrong with this book.