Paul Reader is hanging up his trowel after tending the botanic gardens at Wakehurst in Ardingly for 34 years.
Joining Wakehurst in October 1984, Paul’s first area of responsibility was looking after the Water Garden and Heath Garden, now known as the Southern Hemisphere Garden.
It was not long after this that he faced one of the biggest challenges of his career – the Great Storm of 1987.
This changed the landscape of Wakehurst over night as 20,000 trees were razed to the ground.
He was heavily involved in the clear up operation and the redevelopment within the gardens.
Paul said: “Over my 34 years I have seen the Wakehurst develop hugely with visitor numbers peaking at over 4,000.
“I have had the privilege to work for and with some extremely dedicated and talented people who are passionate about the work of the RBG Kew. It has been an honour to work for such an organisation.”