Belfast Telegraph

My inspiration: Geoff Cameron

By Staff Reporter

Managing director of Cameron Landscapes and Ballylesson Garden Centre. His father helped him establish a love of plants and set him on course for his success.

From a young age I accompanied my father as he travelled around establishing his landscape business. I spent many a day surrounded by squads of men going to work, sitting in vans and lorries listening to the banter that passed back and forth. I think that's where I got my first real taste of what it felt like to be part of a team... or at least trying to be.

Looking back it would be fair to say that I was no angel in my early years in the business. I was always up to something and I've often wondered why my father persisted in letting me join him on site - I suppose it was all part of his grand plan for me to learn everything there was to know, starting quite rightly at the bottom of the ladder.

As I served my apprenticeship I was taken everywhere, from projects at places like DeLorean to the Springvale and Flying Horse industrial estates and Poleglass pitches as my father made sure I worked as hard as anyone else, to gain my own respect with my colleagues.

From the outset I immediately gained an interest in machinery as I quickly realised what a vast variety of machines were needed within the landscapes business.

I later found out that dad was worried this would potentially sacrifice my interest in plants... not part of his grand plan.

There is no doubt that in the early years I was happiest sitting behind the wheel of a tractor or digger, but this would change in due course. My true passion for plants developed rapidly when I went to Greenmount Agricultural College.

I remember learning about setting out groups of plants, gradually beginning to understand which plant should go where and why it would work there better than a different one.

I suppose you could say that dad's plan was back on course. Obviously the endless days of observing him on site had sunk in more than I had realised.

People in the trade say that there aren't many real 'plants' men, but my old boy was definitely one of them.

The landscape industry is, like most industries, finding it tough in the current economic climate but nevertheless I feel fortunate to be doing something I am passionate about.

Out in the fresh air, working with nature, creating inspirational gardens certainly helps me rise to the challenges that a recession brings.

It would be easy for me to mention people like Steve Jobs or Richard Branson as sources of inspiration, but the truth is that it was someone much closer to home, or should I say, at home. It was my father, Ronnie Cameron.

Belfast Telegraph