Stan Bale 30 years' service at Bengers
During his 30 years’ service at Tony Benger Landscaping, Stan has seen may changes. He’s self-taught an enviable plant knowledge alongside an extensive repertoire of gardening techniques. He’s an invaluable member of the Bengers team always happy to pass on his knowledge to new comers. We caught up with Stan as he helped a colleague bark mulch some beautiful borders at a garden in Sidmouth, Devon.
So, Stan, how did you get into landscaping - how did you arrive on Bengers doorstep?
Whilst I was at school I did day release at Tiverton Tech. I studied brickwork and farm crafts (farm machinery). So that was my grounding in machinery and practical skills.
After that I spent 4 or 5 years working in a poultry farm followed by a spell picking daffodils at Malcolm Millers, sparking an affinity with plants. From there I began to work with Elizabeth Stonex doing both hard landscaping and maintenance.
Next step – Bengers, for the rest of time!!
What do you like about your job?
There are lots of different people to work with which is interesting. I find variety in my work too, which I really need, lots of maintenance but also bits and pieces; fencing, hard landscaping and I still get to work with machinery. Tractors (especially vintage), for me now, are just a hobby.
Which has been your favourite project at Bengers?
We did Euro Disney in the mid 90’s. 8 weeks working with Tony and other staff, planting some really big plants, we were craning them in! That was also the first time I’d driven abroad.
Any bad parts of the job?
You have good days and bad days, like any job. People think bad weather must get you down, but it doesn’t make any difference. I’m happy being outside.
What’s the best part of the day?
How has the company changed in 30 years?
I’ve seen it grow from 4 people, 2 pick-ups and 1 trailer. Tony used to borrow his mums land rover and horse box so as to transport plants out of the wind. Now there’s a whole fleet of trucks, vans, trailers, mowers etc and things feel a bit more hectic. Staff don’t get to work alongside with managers so often and, of course, it’s lost a bit of that family feel. That’s natural. Tony is still very much accessible.
When Stan came to us, he knew 2 types of plants; “Them prickly ones” and, “Them smelly ones.” He now knows the names and habits of every plant in our nurseries, and them some! Everyone values his input regarding plant selection, pruning and positioning. He’s also been invaluable repairing our garden machinery and educating staff on machinery maintenance. He’s a very clever and diligent chap. Well done Stan!