Freelance horticultural journalist Spence Gunn has joined the Guild on the recommendation of business partner and long-standing Guild member Claire Shaddick. Their freelance agency, Shaddick & Gunn, specialises in commercial horticulture, writing for a number of publications and organisations in the sector.
“I started my career as a journalist on the forerunner of Horticulture Week in 1982, becoming editor in 1986,” Spence recalls. “Four years later, I moved on to become assistant editor of the newly launched Kew magazine, a glossy quarterly published by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew for its membership organisation. I took over as editor the following year.”
He returned to his commercial horticulture roots in 2003, working with Claire who by then was an established freelance in the sector. Together, they edit and publish HDC News – the monthly magazine of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s horticultural sector body – and produce a quarterly magazine for the NFU’s horticulture membership.
“We also write regularly for horticultural trade magazines such as Horticulture Week/Grower, Commercial Greenhouse Grower, The Vegetable Farmer and the Fruit Grower,” notes Spence. “Occasional feature articles for the Royal Horticultural Society journal also feature in our workload.”
Working on the magazine at Kew involved writing on biodiversity conservation, economic botany and the use of plants in sustainable development.
“I still have an interest in those areas,” says Spence. “For example, I’ve edited booklets produced by INBAR (the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan) based in China, an organisation which helps stimulate production of bamboo and rattan products in developing countries, and markets for them around the world.
“And for the past 25 years, I’ve been honorary editor for the Great Britain and Ireland region of the IPPS,” he adds. “This is an international networking organisation for professional plant propagators and producers.”