Paul Hyland // Owner of Glasshaus Nursery busy making your spaces a lit bit greener // Wearing our Hunter boots in Dark Brown
When did you start growing plants?
Initially, I was very influenced by my grandfather and I used to help him in the garden. My first recollection of plant-growing was probably when I was 6 or 7 years old and I was growing plants for a school fete. When I was about 13, I got a job at a nursery not far from home and ended up working there until I was 29. I could never get enough of it and I guess I sort of knew that was what I was going to end up doing.
How do you move from having that job when you were younger into having Glasshaus now?
My father was a jockey and when he retired from horseracing, he bought a property in Clyde and the people he bought the house from had a rose farm on site. I remember him ringing me up and asked if I knew anything about roses and if I’m interested to have a look at them. So, it was not by choice but more like by accident, I became a rose guy for 25 years. When I was doing that, growing one crop, I felt like my outlet for creativity had been stifled and I knew I wanted to go back to what I was doing and have my own nursery.
My experience growing cut flower roses really prepared me for what I do now. Farming plants mean that you have to be resourceful and it gives you a wide variety of skillset to your way of thinking and I think that’s our biggest strength at Glasshaus. We can look at a job and come up with solutions that are not very obvious or traditional.
What kind of state is Glasshaus now?
We started the nursery 11 years ago and opened up the warehouse around 4 years ago because I see that indoor plants were really starting to become highly sought after. We saw there were a lot of people living in apartments and you could feel a bit of an undercurrent in the younger generations looking for a way of connecting with nature. They might not be living in their own house and they wouldn’t want to invest a lot in the garden so this is where indoor plants fit into the picture.
We just recently started a stand-alone florist shop because we are florists as well and this will help people to know more about our skill set and to drive home the message to people that we do multiples things and that we are pretty okay in all of them.
Do you consider yourself an artist, a scientist, neither, or both?
Definitely when I was a flower grower, there was a lot of science involved in that, way more than I ever thought. I’d say I have quite an artistic flair and a good eye. I’d say I have a sense of my own style and what looks good. Whether it makes me an artist in the true sense of the word I’m not sure.
What is the toughest part of your job?
I think the hardest part of the job is when sometimes people expect you to come up with something, potentially unique and original and making sure that you are able to do that in a timely manner. Sometimes I would get what I think is the equivalent of a writer’s block. It’s managing people’s expectations around budget and what you’re able to achieve for a particular price and still gives the outcome that they need. It is not unusual, but sometimes it means you really take the work home with you and I find it difficult to rest until I’ve actually worked out how I’m going to do something.
What’s next? What would you love to do in the future?
I think now is a real desire to kind of round it off, the businesses and the people, and potentially being able to go back to growing lots of different stuff. I feel like in the cut flower industry, there isn’t much diversity of what there should be. In the plant industry, there could be more diversity amongst growers. I’d like to explore growing unique, niche and more collectable lines and just a nice way to see up the next 25 years.
As a nursery manager/businessman, what do you wear to work?
Clothes (laughs). Obviously I think I am more on the grittier side really. I kind of feel like people should accept a bit of dirt with the territory so that’s my excuse. But a comfortable pair of sturdy shoes I can stand in all day are very important. I’m often up at 4am working a crazy day so they need to be comfortable for the long haul.
What’s the most important thing that you look for in a pair of shoes?
They have got to look good. The comfort is obviously critical but I really like shoes that look good on me. They have to feel quite right. I definitely like that element of craftsmanship, good robustness and stuff that shows they are what they are; a sturdy set of wheels that look good – that’s why I love my Rhino’s.
BANNER IMAGE OF GLASSHAUS NURSERY SIGNAGE FROM GLASSHAUS WEBSITE