Helen Spelitis

More plants, more love: gardening with Diane Cornale

Diane Cornale shares her love of gardening:

Occupation: Accountant

How did you get started in the garden?

I bought a couple of cactus. It escalated. It became a hobby-gone mad.

How long have you been gardening?

Since I was quite young. My grandparents were keen gardeners and grew hundreds of cactus and orchids and succulents. They lived across the road and I spent quite a lot of time with them so they rubbed off on me.

Worst part?

When I re-pot. That's when I curse them. They prick me and of course it hurts. But if you can put up with the pain it's worth it.

How many plants do you have?

Around 300-400 different varieties of cactus and succulent. I buy some, people gift me plants, I swap them and I also propagate them so they make baby plantlets.

Do you have a favourite plant?

I just like them all. Some are grown for foliage, some for flowers, sometimes you get the best of both worlds.

How many hours a day do you spend in the garden?

Not enough because of work but cactus are quite self sufficient.

What's your latest project?

Re-potting them all because they've outgrown themselves. It's a massive task.

Any tips for new gardeners?

Gardening is what you make it. You could have just a couple and be happy, but with hundreds you'd be happier. Depends how much you want to get into it.