Where it all began
I was brought up on a farm in Yorkshire were my Dad was the farm manager. I used to spend all my free time either working with my Dad or getting into all sorts of adventures with my mates, building dens in the woods or around the farmyard. When I wasn’t on the farm, I’d be helping my Dad in the garden, my parents had an amazing garden full of flowers and colour and a large vegetable garden. My Dad was my hero! Mum always says how I would follow him everywhere from as soon as I could walk. I still remember rounding up the cows by myself on a Saturday afternoon to get them ready for milking from the age of about 7, so my Dad could watch Saturday Grandstand for a bit longer.
Growing up in a farming community, most of my mates were obsessed with tractors and farm machinery, but I had a real passion for all thing’s husbandry, whether it was rearing an orphan lamb, assisting with the piglets being born or growing large vegetables. When I first saw the giant vegetable section at a local agricultural show, I was obsessed, and in the drought summer of 1976, aged 7, I grew a giant Pumpkin that blew the competition out of the water. I also grew a large collection of Fuchsias from mainly cuttings. When I learnt that you could grow a plant by breaking a twig, it was an absolute revelation and I’d come home most days with a few cuttings in my pocket that I’d snapped off some bush or other: it even got me in trouble a few times!!
When I left school, I followed my passion for livestock and went to Agricultural college and from there to farm management. In the early 90’s I set up my own outdoor pig unit, renting land from an agricultural college in Somerset. Soon it became apparent that the farm couldn’t sustain an income to support my, then young family, so I started doing construction work, travelling all over the country working on large projects, ranging from working on the roof of Harrods, to building the lock system at Cardiff Marina.
It was all interesting work. I learnt a lot and it paid good money, something I’d never had in farming. Although all was going well, I’d just bought my first house, I had no real passion for the work I was doing. I needed an outlet for my husbandry skills.
Without realizing it a moment came that would change my life forever. In the summer of 96′ our large front garden of our beautiful old cottage in Bath was seriously overgrown. I’d never tackled it as it was a large job and I was working long hours, but one Saturday afternoon I saw my neighbour in her garden using a strimmer. I asked if I could borrow it and the rest is history.
Over the next couple of years, I transformed that garden, converting the steep garden into a series of terraces, rockeries, water features and a large level lawn for my children to play on. Every weekend I was visiting garden centres, flower shows and watching every gardening programme there was.
I was soon doing jobs on the side working, on friends and neighbors’ gardens. I’d found my passion again; it had been unlocked after all those years.
In 2002, I took the big step of selling my house in Bath and moving back to Yorkshire and setting up David Massey Garden Construction. My first employee was my hero………my Dad, who came out of retirement to work with me.