I can’t remember a time without gardening. It’s my parents’ passion, and it’s a link that they’ve shared for more than 50 years. And they passed their gardening bug onto me.

Growing up, we always had a garden. At our first house, it was in pots, and I remember cutting down all mum’s flowers with the scissors out of my toy doctor’s kit; I must have been two or three. From there, we moved to a house with a good-sized garden where we grew vegetables and fruit. I learnt from watching and working with Mum and Dad. Here I earned my Brownie gardener badge, watched fat thrushes eating blackcurrants off the bushes and raided the pea patch with my sister.

And ever since I’ve had my own home, gardens have been places where I can lose myself and switch off. For me, they are a release. It’s a creative spot. It’s a practical place. And a slow-grow, live-in-the-moment escape.

I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit in front of a screen over the past 25 years, working as a digital marketing manager. 2024 has been a year of change for me and continues to be so. I’ve taken the plunge, stepped away from my desk and set up my own gardening services business – Cathy Heavers Gardening Services. So not only is my garden a patch of green where I can use my hands, find some headspace and let my imagination grow wild, but I’m now helping my customers to do the same.

Sea and mountains

We live in Llanfairfechan in North Wales, a small coastal town at the foothills of the Carneddau Mountains. Our house sits on a steep hill and has a large garden that overlooks the sea. The sunsets here are just stunning. We can see over to Anglesey and in the spring, the sun sets over the east of the island behind the lighthouse at Penmon Point. And by late August, it disappears way over the west, towards Newborough. It is a beautiful place to live.


Our Victorian house looks down onto the garden. It’s not an easy space to work. The plot is steep, the soil is very free draining and being on the coast, it’s often windy, usually from the west, and the air is a little salty. We previously lived in St Albans and our garden there was so easy to manage. I could grow almost anything with minimal effort. Less so here.

Cutting the grass takes ages. The borders of the garden are mature and need plenty of attention, particularly in the spring. Over time, we’ve developed a good-sized vegetable and fruit patch set over two levels. And I have a “mum-shed” with the most fantastic window looking out to sea which I use to start seeds off (I love my shed). These then go into my two brick-based cold frames or the polytunnel to grow on before being planted out.

I compost everything we can and love my hot bin which produces at least three loads of crumbly dark compost every year. It heats up to over 100°C on hot days. My younger son is football-mad, so the garden doubles as a football pitch. We keep chickens and have had to barricade the vegetable garden!

Last year I let flowers riot through the patch alongside the vegetables, thinking that it would be great for pollination and insects. It did play home to lots and lots of bees, which was wonderful but yields were poor. Learning from this, this year is all about seed-to-plate with flower margins for the bees instead.

I grow nearly everything from seed – the whole process is therapeutic, and grounding and also saves so much money. And while there are times in the year when my enthusiasm wanes a little, I rarely go a day without spending time outdoors.


I’ve been back to college to study for the RHS Level 2 qualifications to add some classroom theory to my practical experience. This was a long haul alongside work but I successfully assed in 2023 which I’m proud of.

Cathy Heavers Gardening is the record of my gardening year, some of the work I do and a place to share ideas, learning, failures and successes. Keep an eye on my blog for updates and I hope that they bring a little pleasure to anyone reading it.