Immediate: April 4, 2022

A specialist plants centre in Shropshire, which celebrates its 10th birthday next year, has strengthened its team with two new recruits.

Julie Bull and Li Zakovics join the team at Love Plants, based at caravan and motorhome dealership Salop Leisure in Shrewsbury, in part-time roles.

Julie turned to horticulture as a career when she was made redundant as a globe-trotting press photographer, while Li is an experienced gardener with a focus on wildlife, sustainability and biodiversity.

During her career with newspapers in Bournemouth, Birmingham and Edinburgh, Julie spent 30 years capturing front line news photography around the world.

Assignments ranged from photographing street children in Guatemala and Oxfam’s aid work during the genocide in Rwanda to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Hogmanay concerts. Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, by whom she was blessed, are among the famous people Julie has photographed.

Following redundancy, Julie worked for a short time as a Police Scotland call handler before turning her gardening hobby into a business, Flower Power, in 2015.

She moved to Shrewsbury last June and now combines her role at Love Plants with care work and running a business which provides personalised lone gardener or companion gardener services.

“I love seeing the photos of former colleagues who are still working, but newspapers are not the same as they were,” said Julie. “It was an exciting job but I think working with plants is equally as exciting because I am learning every day.

“Having finished horticultural college last June, it’s important to me that I gain more knowledge of plants. At Love Plants, I’m learning about different plants from around the world that I’ve never seen or heard of before and I’m working with really knowledgeable colleagues. I enjoy the challenge of using my knowledge to answer customers’ questions.”

Li has been self-employed as a wildlife gardener for 18 years, having graduated in Wildlife and Countryside Management. “Greener gardening is my passion,” she said.

“It’s all about finding ways of getting your garden looking great without having to kill everything. There are alternatives to using chemical sprays. For example, if you have greenfly in your garden, you just need to wait for the wasps and the ladybirds to come to clear them.”

Li was a regular trade customer of Love Plants before joining the team. “It's the most local plant centre to where I live and, importantly, it is not a garden centre. It’s all about the plants which are always good quality.

“Having worked on my own for a long time, it was becoming quite lonely and I was looking to explore different areas of horticulture that I hadn’t worked in before. Love Plants is a lovely place to work and I enjoy the engagement with customers and talking about their gardens.”

Love Plants, which is headed by manager Tim Robinson and assistant manager Heather Evans, has a team of 11 full and part-time staff.


Picture caption:

Julie Bull (left) and Li Zakovics, new recruits at Love Plants.




For more information, please contact Ed Glover, Salop Leisure’s marketing manager, on 01743 282400 or Duncan Foulkes, public relations adviser, on 01686 650818.