Jonathon Jones is Garden Director at Tregothnan Tea, the first and only tea plantation in Britain.
“Don’t waste time on small projects” It was John Green, one of the UK’s largest farmers, who told me this. He took a great interest in me, and that was extremely helpful. He would always challenge me to think much bigger, and not to waste time on small projects when you could spend the same amount of time doing something much more worthwhile.
Be persistent. I was always told that behind every overnight success story is 15 years of hard work. You have to be committed and passionate, and enjoy what you do. If you stay true to that when things don’t go your way, eventually it does go right and that’s exactly what happened for me.
In some areas you have to be the first. Mr Boscawen’s – the owner of Tregothnan – view was that it’s no good being second. To be the second tea plantation in the UK – it’s historically never quite the same is it? Even if all our tea bushes here die, we have still got that historic fact that we were the first to grow tea in the UK. There’s something about that which is really important; it will always carry resonance with it.
Time becomes more critical. We’ve all got the same amount of time in a day and it all comes down to how you manage it, I think. You can’t manage people if you can’t manage your own time, so it all comes back to that.
You’ve got to get out – that’s what I’d tell my young self. Literally travel out there, look around you and realise that the world is still a big place. Get out and really understand your potential markets – work with them, sell to them. Be prepared to do the hard work and really believe in what you’re doing. It’s contagious; then other people believe in what you want to do, and you end up with a real sense of momentum.
I want my children to enjoy what they do. I’ve got four of them and my eldest has just turned 17. I really do think that they have to make the big decisions for themselves; the number one thing I tell them is just to enjoy it and be good at it.