The Beginnings

Born on 18th of May, 1958 at my Nan's house.  12 Green Lane, Hillingdon Middlesex. England.

My parents - Eunice  & Tom Titmus both encouraged me to have a profession that I would enjoy. 

I Completed my schooling at the age of 16 as did all my friends.  Then decided on a Craftsman Gardener Apprenticeship through the "London Borough of Hillingdon Program".

I completed the three year program in 1978.  The program consisted of many phases of the gardening trade. My first area was a recreation park - Bowls green, trees, shrubs, roses, tennis courts, football (soccer) pitches, children's playgrounds, and other grass areas gave me plenty to learn and experience.  But first things first.  I had to learn how to make a "pot of tea" properly.  Every morning for six months I was at the park, I took a whalebone brush and dispersed the dew from the fescue bowls lawn to prevent the fusarium from killing the lawn.  Then off to pick-up the litter (trash).  Now it was time to make the tea.

My next area was the design dept.  I was taught how to draw with ink pens on transparent paper, make measurements, order plants, estimate materials, and other office tasks.  I took to this information well so I was kept on as a yard manager.  As ordered plants and materials arrived I sorted them to each job site.  I had discovered my organizing skills.

Next the apprentices spent time on a project, I chose a pond renovation in a rundown site next to an art school.  I put together a design.  The group, myself, and two others Phil & Sheila set about to recreate that drawing to the site.  Path building, rock walls, old plant removal, new planting, and the biggest task cleaning the pond.  We made a few mistakes , learnt much, developed a team spirit, and got recognized by the local press for our work.

I ended my apprenticeship experience on the landscaping crew.  I did not go to two areas, the plant nursery (growing) and the tree crew.  I was okay about them both, I had no interest in that part of the program.

All during the three year apprenticeship I was on a "day release" school program.  One day per week we all went Horticultural school to learn the "principals".  I passed all the exams and learnt many plants.

My apprenticeship was now complete, I now had a choice as did the other students, of further education.  I chose a one year National Certificate course in landscaping.  This meant leaving home for the first time and living in a dorm at Merrist word - Agriculture College.  Near Guildford.  Almost two hours away, and that's a great drive in Britain.  I stayed at the college during the week & returned home for the weekends.  Great times I had at this place.  Learnt much, played hard and grew.

I had completed the landscaping course in 1978 then as part of the deal I served on the landscaping crew for three years as a pay back for the education.  These three years were tremendous growth time.  Upon completing college my fiancée ended the relationship, to offset this, I change my style of music, new friends and knuckled down to become the landscape second.  And lead the fix it, small job, sort-it-out, finish-it-up crew.  Again learning much in a short time.  During this time one major project was the L.B. of Hillingdon civic center (Town Hall on a grand scale).  Thousands of trees and plants, acres of grass and tons of soil.

I continued on the landscaping crew until I needed to leave prior to a pension plan cap.  This was necessary as part of the preparation to moving to Arizona , U.S.A. in Sept. 1981.

Nov. 1981 I began working on the landscape crew of "Jim Wheat's Landscape center"  Starting at the bottom again.  My British credentials meant nothing here.  I contend that although I know little about desert work I knew the principals and basic methods.  I quickly rose to crew leader and eventually to the foreman.  Jim Wheat spent time to teach me about AZ.  I also learnt much from the Mexican laborers.  Jim was nearing retirement during 1992 so as he slowed down I increased my own business until Jan., 1993 and became fully registered as U.J.G.S., and independent.

I'm fortunate to have never needed to advertise for work.  The work always came about just when an opening arose and I have grown steadily and securely.  Today I have around 20 projects and do not plan to take on any new accounts to allow for natural attrition to make space for my permaculture design business.