How I changed career to become a gardener & more | Tropical Tribe Q&A

How I changed career to become a gardener & more | Tropical Tribe Q&A

I answer all the questions that you, the Tropical Tribe, have asked me. I’m often asked how I managed to change career to become a gardener full time and in this video I talk through the route I took to retrain as a gardener and gain experience working as a gardener full time. I also discuss what started my interest in tropical and exotic plants as well as answering some questions about my own Tiny Tropical Garden and gardening tricks and tips.




Tropical and exotic gardening.


Vlog 28 – Tiny Tropical Garden



• Chicken manure pellets:
• Liquid seaweed:
• Fish blood and bone:
• Houseplant food:

Windowsill Propagator:
Heat Matt:

• Perlite:
• Eco pots:
• Plant labels:


Solar flame torch:
Solar Fairy light:
Bamboo screening:

Kew Tropical Plant identification:
Hot Plants For Cool Places:
Big Leaves for Exotic Effect:


  1. Julie on July 26, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Thank You for sharing this! What a great story. I’m just about to apply for level 2 for September and I’ve been wondering if I should. Catching the bug like you mentioned is something which has happened to me, this last year especially. I’m quite excited to see where it will lead. All the best to you! 🌱🌷🌼

  2. Thom on July 26, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    RHS is such a great thing, not anything like that where I live.

  3. Sharon Connors on July 26, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    Happiness is everything in life, like you I find contentment in my garden its very therapeutic – well done you for succeeding in your new career path

  4. Theresa Fleetwood on July 26, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    The more money you earn the more you find to spend it on. Less money means less things you didn’t even know you didn’t really want. Life and how you live it far more important. So pleased for you and that you realised it when you were not too old to change things in your life. So glad you have a really supportive wife.
    Stay safe and best wishes for the future. 👍😊🌱

  5. jelagi on July 26, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Craig,
    Love watching your videos and seeing all the TLC you give your beautiful garden. Keep them coming 🙂 Wish I was younger and physically still able to make a career switch to being a gardener as you have. For now propagating and sowing all kinds of plants for friends and neighbours does give me great satisfaction. However, I am looking into possibilies to make a small living this way.
    I wonder if you ever looked into bokashi (which is basically fermenting all kinds of kitchen and gardenscraps) as a means to improve the soil in your garden. As you I have a small garden so no room for a compost heap etc, that’s why I started with bokashi last year and it really works a treat for me: it is dead easy, quick and hardly anything organic goes to waste. I either dig it directly into the garden or rejuvinate last year’s tired container soil and I also use the liquid fertilizer for my muso’s and canna’s.

  6. ian parkes on July 26, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    great story , wow amazing place to work, Congrats i always had that dream to work in kew but its a long drive, similar to me i started working on my own garden maintenance 10 years ago still enjoy it !

  7. Ste on July 26, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Huge help Matey thankyou, I have a similar background to you, tropical plants in the family blood but through animal enclosure design, mums side were Horticulturalists and dads were all zoo keepers, I’ve been stuck in a job I hate at a nuclear site for 7 years, Horticulture is the direction my heart is telling me to take, just about the courage to take the plunge eh!, keep up the great work! 👍

  8. Vincenze Calzone on July 26, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    Hey Craig. Thanks for answering my question. I agree with you patience is definitely required wiith 🌴 seeds!! Glad you’ve found some happiness in your career change. Your missus I’m sure deserves a lot of credit for her support in your ventures. Maybe the channel in a small way helps you use some of those tech skills you’re developed also. The channel will continue to grow I’m sure. The face behind the Vlogs is an honest and enthusiastic one. People will see this. Well done mate.

  9. Jack Murphy on July 26, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Great video! I can relate about the question what plant first got you into it, and you said propagation. Me personally growing from seed helped me alot with a phase of bad mental health i was going through at the time, its amazing growing somthing from seed it helps your mind so much, and those seeds were cannas and been in love with them ever since

  10. Paul Kingston on July 26, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Great video Craig I think we all go chasing the bucks when we were younger especially when there’s a family to look after and it’s not until we get older and we look at life differently that we realise that money, although helpful, is not the be all and end all…take care mate

  11. Iris Moles on July 26, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Great video love all the things your parents were doing I’ve got a mixture garden loving my tropical and the rest just getting into house plants loving your videos hurry up and do your shed

  12. sandra Hickey on July 26, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    So inspirational, I would love to do what you’ve done, you’re so lucky found your dream job, something you enjoy. I might look at horticultural courses at my local college.

  13. A. S on July 26, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Life begins the day you start a garden🌱

  14. Cameron Perry on July 26, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    I really liked hearing about your journey on this. I’m in an incredibly similar situation to what you’re in. I currently have a corporate job in video production, and I want to become a full time gardener. I love film and video, but I learned very quickly that I don’t like making horrible corporate video which is unfortunately where the money is when it comes to video production. The good news is I’m incredibly passionate about gardening, I think the thing that scares me the most is the money. I’m actually totally okay taking a pay cut, I’m just worried I won’t be able to pay my bills! I’d love to talk with you one on one if you’re open to it.

  15. Martijn Keulen on July 26, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you so much for answering my questions, I actually bought lots of mushroom compost and digged it in with the sand. I have enough to mulch over it as well ones I have planted everything out🌴 I was thinking to order liquid seaweed as well, now that you told me you use it too I’m gonna buy it for sure, I think I’m gonna add fish emulsion in it as well for the nitrogen because I have lots of bananas, cannas and colocasias etc. I’ll send you pictures of my Garden bed ones it has grown a bit! Cheers😁

  16. Shruti Jadhav on July 26, 2021 at 9:29 pm


  17. An Du on July 26, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Oooh my! You sounds a bit like me talking about cuttings 😊 i would love to work in rhs

  18. Peter Badger on July 26, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life…..

  19. SotC on July 26, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Loved your story, thank you. It’s really encouraging to hear about how you studied online whilst working, as lot of stories I found online were from people who could just give up their job completely which is definitely not the situation I’m in! It’ll take a few years, but I hope I get there too.

  20. Shaun Ward on July 26, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    I can totally appreciate the way propagation got you hooked in those early days; that first spring at KMC propagating and learning with you and Devon was totally intoxicating. I remember ending up with an army of houseplants that soon outgrew the space I had for them!! Also, thank you for your kind words, one ‘full time’ gardener to another!! 👍👍👍

  21. Oliver Blackhall on July 26, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    Haha brillant that’s very cool and interesting! Very detailed and I loved it.

  22. from37on on July 26, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    I’m from Dallas, Texas a loyal viewer of your videos. I wanted to say that this video helped to push me into my passion of working in the field of horticulture. When you spoke of your journey, you began to glow. Your soul is enriched by your decision and its awesome and encouraging to see. Thank you

  23. EAHWEE on July 26, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    Hey, so I recently paid for a CPD horticulture course just wanted to know could I still be able to get into working as a Gardner or within horticulture sector with this qualification?

  24. Brenda Powis on July 26, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Hi Craig, inspired to restart my tropical garden I purchased 2 young musa basjoo and an ensete m… The first week there were visable signs of growth, a new leaf every other day, but this week the leaves have slowed. Not sure if ive over watered. The musa has brown tips but ensete still has a beautiful colour although has slowered, also ants and green fly seem to love the bananas… They are all in full sun. Any ideas pests and slowing growth? Brenda

  25. Thomas Stone on July 26, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    I’m currently studying horticulture also for similar reasons to yourself.

  26. Phil Jones on July 26, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Your story is really resonating with my thoughts about my current situation. I’m an engineer, good money especially when that overtime and weekend work kicks in. But I’m miserable doing it, i go to bed most nights stressed, i wake up dreading the day, I’m bored, so so bored. Yet i consider "a nice day out" going to a flipping garden center, i read about plants constantly, i can actually retain information ive read from the day before – this is generally non existent. I love growing seeds, collecting seeds, propagating, pollinating, crossing… my garden is my life, i NEED it. Every second of my day (bar family) is spent having something to do with plants. Ive looked into courses, it’s a terrifying thought, especially as i hate tests… but i think im nearing that point where for my own sanity and health i have to be involved in gardening as a job.

  27. Violet Raton on July 26, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    I love your story and share your video in my Facebook. I would change my career if I am young but I am old lol.

  28. Gav T on July 26, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    wierd that we use the exact same method for feeding and mulching. . I too have a heavy clay garden. . i hear coir is also good. . do you suggest clipping my Paulownia into 1 stem? also do you suggest overwintering my schefflera indoors? its still young. . and how would you over winter colocasia? many thanks

  29. giantacorn on July 26, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Please can I ask which course provider you used for your Level 2 theory certificates? I can see there are a few that do the distance learning option so it would be great to know who you recommend

  30. Traveling Merchant on July 26, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    Paused the video halfway through, went to market and bought a houseplant for the first time in my life!

  31. MonoiLuv on July 26, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    I love hearing all about how your interest in tropical gardens has evolved. When I walk my dog around the neighborhood I’m always looking for plants to try to harvest seeds & cuttings from 🙄🤫 respectfully of course!

  32. Welsh Man Walking on July 26, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    Great story. My garden has become my life and arguably, I now have an obsession with exotic plants. So much so that I wouldn’t now move house, as I couldn’t face leaving my garden! It’s my place of sanctuary each day. If I had my time again, I’d have carved a career as a landscape architect.

  33. Swedish Rainbow_Garden on July 26, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for a good Q&A and a lot of good knowledge how you got into the garden business.

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