About Martyn Cox
I have worked in gardening since I left school, but my interest in plants goes back further. I have fond childhood memories of travelling on the back of my granddad’s scooter to pick beans on his allotment and being put in charge of spraying tomatoes in my grandparents greenhouse – the aromatic plants, damp soil and spicy smell of the cedar frame combined to make a distinctive scent that I loved and have never forgotten.
In my early teens I developed a passion for succulents, amassing a large collection that were stored on numerous windowsills. The plants eventually needed more room and I was bought a greenhouse for my 16th birthday. My interest developed into an obsession for all houseplants and eventually outdoor ones. I even kept a copy of an RHS encyclopedia next to my bed, so I could learn three new plants a night before going to sleep. Sad, but true.
Despite having a deep love of gardening, I never considered it as a possible career. Plan A was to become an artist with a fall back of making it as a guitarist in a band. Lack of talent meant that neither of those paths panned out and after a period of unemployment, I started a part-time course in Amenity Horticulture at a local college.
A job at a commercial nursery soon followed, where I rose in the ranks to become nursery supervisor. A few years later I moved on to become a glasshouse technician at a horticultural college, where I did all sorts of stuff, including maintaining a tropical house, installing floral displays at council offices and stoking the glasshouse boiler. I later studied commercial horticulture at Writtle College in Essex, where I came top of my class.
While at college I bagged a place on a journalism scholarship run by John Deere, which included a work placement at Horticulture Week in London. I must have done something right as I was offered a full time job as a reporter. Promotions to senior reporter and deputy news editor followed until I was head hunted for the role of news editor at Amateur Gardening in Poole.
I was lured back to London by the opportunity of becoming gardening editor at a website during the dotcom boom of the early noughties. Sadly the bubble burst after about a year and I moved on to become features editor at BBC Gardeners’ World. After three years, I wanted a new challenge and jumped at the chance of becoming deputy editor at newly launched Gardenlife. The magazine ran for just a year and a half, but gave the garden magazine industry a well-deserved shake and won magazine of the year at the Garden Media Guild awards in 2005.
Now freelance, I write a column in the Mail on Sunday and have filed hundreds of features for gardening, lifestyle and customer magazines. I have written ten books, edited one-shot titles and written for many websites. I have spoken on most BBC local radio stations, appeared as a pundit on BBC TV news and was the gardening expert on a series of Channel 4’s Superscrimpers, along with several of its seasonal specials. I’m currently a gardening guest expert on QVC shopping TV channel.
Martyn writes for the Mail on Sunday, Amateur Gardening, Garden News and many other titles, and appears regularly on screen as a guest gardening expert on QVC shopping channel.
I have a small, north-facing garden in Portsmouth, that’s been completely overhauled since being taken on in 2012. Before that, I had an even smaller garden in Walthamstow, East London, that opened several times for the National Gardens Scheme and was the basis for my first book, Big Gardens in Small Spaces. The garden featured in The Mail on Sunday, The Guardian, Amateur Gardening and many other titles, and was even featured in a Japanese TV programme