Meet the Team - Alan Down
With over 40 years of gardening and growing experiences to call on, Alan has an exceptional knowledge of all things gardening. Owner, with wife Felicity, of Cleeve Nursery since 1983 the business has grown to be regarded as the place to go for great plants!
Having previously been assistant to the production director of world renowned Hampshire based Hillier Nurseries, Alan has experience of growing over 5,000 species and varieties of hardy plants.
The plant nursery at Cleeve Nursery produces over 65% of the plants now sold in the garden centre and this is one of Alan’s prime responsibilities.
Since taking over Cleeve Nursery, Alan has been garden expert for Radio West and BBC Radio Bristol. For 6 years he, Felicity and Sue King presented from their garden the highly acclaimed HTV Garden Calendar programme every week. Since 2005, Alan has been the Western Daily Press gardening correspondent and his double page spread with useful tips and recommendations can be found there every Saturday.
Alan is a Nuffield Scholar and a full member of the Garden Media Guild
Also with over 40 years of gardening experience to call on, Felicity’s too has an exceptional knowledge of gardening. Joint owner, with husband Alan, of Cleeve Nursery since 1983 the business has grown to be regarded as the place to go for great plants!
Felicity was senior florist at world renowned Hampshire based Hillier Nurseries when she and Alan met. Her eye for colour and artistic flair is put to good use in displays on the garden centre at Cleeve.
Primarily responsible for the garden centre and its busy coffee shop, she is assisted by a very experienced team headed up by manager Geoff.
Since taking over Cleeve Nursery, Felicity has been garden expert for Radio West. For 6 years she, Alan and Sue King presented every week the highly acclaimed HTV Garden Calendar programme from their garden.
After training as a chef and working for 12 years in the hotel and catering trade, Geoff joined the team in 1993 as a sales assistant. Since then he has attained various qualifications including the RHS certificate, the HTA Retail Plant Care Award (Gold Level), as well as a handful of management qualifications.
Promoted to manager in 2002, Geoff is responsible for keeping the centre stocked with plants and the day to day running of Cleeve Nursery.
Aside from general plant and customer care, Judith is responsible for our climbing plants and for purchasing our garden sundries, tools, fertiliser, pest control etc. and the wildlife section.
Judith is also one of our team of designers who under take gold and silver level plans, as part of our Border Design Service.
Geoff (Digger) Dykes
Geoffrey has been in horticulture for 44 years and has attained a broad range of horticultural experience.
His interest started young in his grandfather’s greenhouse and progressed from school to an apprenticeship at the Royal Parks, London.
He joined the diploma course at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, graduating with a diploma at credit level. This prepared him for a supervisor’s position which he held for over seven years at Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff. He then took a very big step and accepted a position as gardens manager at a very large hospital and residential complex in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which he held for fifteen years.
Geoffrey joined us in September 1999 and is responsible keeping our plants healthy with compost tea and by other complementary methods.
Callum is the youngest member of our team at Cleeve Nursery and has served a modern day apprenticeship with us.
In 2010 Callum studied Horticulture Level 2 NVQ at Cannington College, part of Bridgwater College, Somerset. He picked up the Award for the Most Improved Student in Land Based Studies and Cleeve Nursery received the Award for the Apprenticeship Employer of the Year!
Sharon joined the team at Cleeve Nursery in September 2003, after working many years in nursing.
She is a keen home gardener,with a special interest in growing her own fruit and vegetables.
She takes every opportunity to improve her small but interesting flower and shrub garden.
Kirsty is our latest recruit and comes to us with a wealth of nursery and gardening knowledge! Kirsty is responsible for growing our own plants in our Longacre Nursery on the opposite side of the road to the garden centre. Formerly growing plants at the nursery of Bristol Zoo Gardens and with experience gained at other local nurseries, she will maintain the high quality standards already set in producing approximately 700 varieties of hardy plants.
Jane helps us out in lots of areas but is primarily involved [with Kirsty] in our production nursery. After a clerical background, Jane decided to change careers and join our team. She has recently attained the RHS Certificate in Horticulture.
In fact that is only part of the story since her children, Holly and Tom, are regularly seen lending a hand and Tom films, directs and produces our You Tube videos!
Sarah has been the Office Manager at Cleeve Nursery since 2001 and keeps the books in order! She enjoys working and socialising with the friendly team, but the staff love her most on pay day! Sarah loves the Gift Shop and can often be seen checking out the giftware for impending birthday and Christmas presents.
There are currently no staff vacancies
Cleeve Nursery Services
Free advice and ideas for growing your own food
Advice, design and ideas for your garden borders
Free advice, tips, articles, and ideas for all gardeners
Guru Alan's gardening blog with some great news, tips and articles.
Guru Alan's gardening column from regional press.
Take a look at whats on offer at Cleeve Nursery