From PR to Perennials

John Thoumire

John Thoumire in the glasshouse at King’s Buildings

John Thoumire, 37 from Edinburgh, had an interesting start to his career, selling swords to tourists on the Royal Mile but then moved to a career in the media. John worked in all areas of the media, from current affairs journalism to reviews and general media and PR. While the majority of his work was based in Edinburgh, he was able to go abroad and practice too. “It was at this time that I also started teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language). From there I did a little work for the Scottish Parliament working as an aid to an MSP and that took me to several human rights organisations where I wrote reports on international affairs. Somewhere in between all that I also ran a small publishing company.”

Through his health issues, John discovered a new passion for gardening and horticultural therapy. “I had always had health issues growing up but somewhere in the menagerie of occupations things got particularly bad. While working in Venezuela I became ill and on my return had to start on Haemodialysis due to kidney failure. While I tried to continue my regular work, it became increasingly difficult to carry out. It was at this point that I discovered my love of gardening and horticultural therapy. When returning from my 3 – day a week stint in hospital, I always found myself gravitating back to my garden and greenhouse where I would putter around until I felt more like myself again. Years later when I received a new kidney and better all round health, I found myself at a crossroads, occupationally speaking. I decided here that I wanted to re-train in something to do with horticulture. I chose garden design initially as there’s less hard labour involved but now I realise it is a perfect fit as it may allow me to help others the way horticulture helped me.”

John chose to study an HND in Garden Design at SRUC Edinburgh having had it recommended to him by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. “So far my experience of SRUC has been positive. I have learnt things I never thought I would have and met good friends I would never have expected to meet at this stage in my life. The course is hard work. There is a lot to do and there never seems to be enough time but the experiences gained are worth it.”

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