Michael’s plant journey began in the UK, where he grew up following his grandparents around their greenhouses as they reared exhibition-quality Chrysanthemums and Dahlias. This sowed the seed for a desire to cultivate his own plants, and eventually extended to his parents’ garden, where he started growing his first flowers.
Having spent his childhood honing his gardening skills, he began capitalising on his efforts in the form of a small mail-order herb nursery. Now a teenager, Michael kept his passions a secret from his school friends, as gardening wasn’t seen as cool or manly in those days!
Soon, big decisions about his future were to be made. After a long talk with a rather unhelpful careers advisor (who wanted him to be a florist), he decided to pursue a National Diploma in Horticulture.
After entering a competition to design a garden at mail-order plant company Thompson & Morgan, Michael followed up by asking for a job. He was accepted as an informal apprentice, and his journey into the world of professional horticulture began.
At Thompson & Morgan, Michael began by helping to source new plants for the seed catalogue, where he found his eye for unique plants, whether brand new or re-discovered. It wasn’t long before he was appointed Specialist Catalogue Manager, a very unique job which fit his expertise perfectly.
After a year’s sabbatical in Australia, Michael returned to Thompson & Morgan with a bigger focus of new product development, as well as PR and media. His years of being a shy teenager were well behind him, and he began appearing regularly on TV shopping channels.
“I’m so eager for more people to make different plant choices. Many of us keep on growing the same thing, but with poor results. That’s what new plants are all about, making gardening easier, more pleasurable and making sure you’ve got something different to your neighbours!”
His bubbly character and passion for plants made a nice contrast to the hard-sell approach which viewers were used to, and this lead to exciting guesting opportunities on The Titchmarsh Show, The One Show and The Great British Garden Revival.
2013 – today
Michael launched mrplantgeek.com by documenting his travels around the Costa Rican jungle. A self-confessed digital nomad, Michael has been on the move ever since, reporting back on his amazing horticultural findings whilst flitting from country to country.
His work has taken him to North and Central America, Africa, Asia and Europe, and he still manages to keep up appearances on TV, with regular contributions to ITV This Morning, as well as his own show, Michael Perry’s Gardening World, on QVC.
Michael regularly participates in charity work, with one notable experience involving a nude calendar shoot for the benefit of charity Perennial. He champions gardening for mental health and wellbeing, and promotes gender equality for gardeners and plant geeks alike.