How does he manage? - Park Keeper - Mark Wasilewski, St James's Park, London

When did you become a manager?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I joined the Royal Parks in 1989 as nursery manager in Greenwich Park. Back then, I didn't have to speak to people, only plants. Sometimes I got more sensible answers. In 1992, I landed the role of supervisor here. I then went to Regent's Park, and returned here five years ago as manager.

- What does management mean to you?

Sensitivity and diplomacy. When you're bordered by Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and Parliament Square, you never know who it is that's asking you about a duck or flower. It could be a peer on their way to the House of Lords. My staff of six deal with high-profile organisations - the Palace, Number 10 and Scotland Yard - and events such as the Queen's birthday parade and the London Marathon. Management involves planning hospitality, security, media positions, medical positions and crowd movements - as well as horticulture and maintenance. People consider us civil servants. I don't see myself that way - I'm a gardener.

- What do you like/dislike about your job?

I wish I had a PA - there's more to life than staying till 7pm wading through e-mails. I miss the horticulture. Every year I try to design at least one flowerbed. The variety of the work and the enjoyment I get keep me going. I love to smell the hyacinths and hear the birds singing in the morning.


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