‘What I do makes me feel better about myself ’
Danny Clarke from Bromley – the celebrity career-changer
You might recognise Danny Clarke from gardening shows such as Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden and Channel 5’s Filthy Garden SOS, or for winning a Silver-Gilt medal at the
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which Danny did last May. But 26 years ago he was a struggling self-employed salesman. You could say he was a very early adopter of the trend for ditching the conventional 9-5 for a horticultural career.
Now 66, Danny was 40 when he “went off in a different direction and became a garden maintenance practitioner”. The move was by chance, Danny explains, when he got a phone call from a woman who wanted help with her garden, and had heard about him through a mutual friend. That woman became his first client but also his mentor: “She would teach me how to look at the world through a different prism,” he explains, “and her gardening knowledge was boundless.”
Soon, Danny was approached by other potential clients and had to choose between his old day job or retraining. “It was a no-brainer, because I loved it so much. I decided to do it full-time,” he explains.
He enrolled in a year’s garden design course at a local horticultural college and went on to start his own design practice, the Black Gardener. “It’s really nature that makes me feel the way I do, and gardening is the vehicle to get me close to that. What I do is really good for me, it makes me feel better about myself and the world around me.”