Ecologist and Plantsman
Kevin Hughes has always had a keen interest in natural history and initially trained in ecology. He spent 15 years studying one of Britain’s most endangered birds, the Dartford Warbler, and was part of the team that found the first evidence for co-operative breeding in this species.
The plant bug, however, was gaining ground so he ended up swapping his intended career for his hobby, becoming head gardener on a 15-acre estate, where he stayed for seven years, acquiring much practical experience. However, ecological considerations remained important and he persuaded the owners to eradicate Rhododendron ponticum from most of their land. They were rewarded with the regeneration of ancient heathland and the return of woodland flora and fauna.
Kevin then spent more than nine years renovating, restoring and then running Spinners Garden and Nursery, where he held a national collection of trilliums. In 2004, he set up his own nursery, Kevin Hughes’ Plants, now at Heale Garden near Salisbury, which specialises in rare and unusual hardy trees, shrubs (especially magnolias), herbaceous plants, climbers, and, of course, trilliums.
Keen to see new and exciting plants introduced into Britain, Kevin goes on collecting trips, especially to the USA (but never indulges in the commercial harvesting of wild plants). He also lectures on a wide range of horticultural subjects, does some garden design, and is currently writing a practical book on gardening.