Meet the Blue Star Garden Management and Maintenance team

Blue Star Commercial Gardens was established in 1994 and is owned by Serge and Nikki Barker. Blue Star focuses on the professional management of communal gardens and landscapes, specialising in prestigious retirement communities.

Unlike other providers of grounds maintenance, all of our staff are employed directly by us, which gives you peace of mind that our team always works together to ensure we provide the best advice, service, and care all year round.

Nikki Barker – Technical Director

Nikki is the co-director of Blue Star Gardens and has a National Diploma in Hardy Ornamental Nursery Stock, and a University Certificate in Education & Training from Canterbury Christ Church.

She has spent 36 years in the horticultural industry and was a former lecturer and commercial manager at Hadlow University Centre.

On top of all of this, she is a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Horticultural Advisor and is a regular contributor to the RHS Garden Magazine and RHS podcasts. Listen to her most recent podcast here, where she gives growing advice on roses and the perfect floral arrangement including violets.

Nikki is currently completing the RHS Master of Horticulture (Mhort), this is a 3-year long course and is the RHS’ most prestigious training programme.

She is passionate about plants (if you couldn’t already tell!), propagation, and inspiring people to view horticulture as a career choice. Her favourite flowers are Magnolias, Camellia, Rhododendron – Magnolia x Loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ is her top favourite plant.

She spends her free time mainly on her allotments, where she has a polytunnel and grows large quantities of rare tomato cultivars. She has also been commissioned to write a book on propagation aimed at horticulture students!

‘I like walking because I am on my own then’ – we know how you feel Nikki!

Serge Barker – Director & Contracts Manager

Serge has been the owner and co-director of Blue Star Gardens since 1998. He has worked in horticulture since leaving art college, initially in garden centres and garden centre management, and then moving on to the landscaping sector. 

He has 30 years of experience, so you know you’re in good hands if you decide to work with us and use our garden maintenance service and/or garden management service.

In his spare time, Serge likes to read, drink craft beers, going to the pub, and he helps Nikki out at the allotment.

Claire Lakey, BA (Hons) Garden Design – Operations and Horticultural Training Manager

Claire graduated with a 1st Class Honours in Garden Design from Greenwich University and also has a University Certificate in Education & Training from Canterbury Christ Church.

She spent 25 years in a private practice, designing, building, and managing gardens.

Claire was a former programme leader of the Garden Design at Hadlow University Centre.

She is also a trainee psychotherapist for Blue Star and is passionate about plants, teaching and learning about mental health. 

She is a great asset to the team, as she taught the dissertation for the Garden Design Degree that had a heavy emphasis on how we can design inclusive landscapes for restoration and wellbeing.

Tess Sharland – Gardens Manager

Tess has an RHS level 2 diploma in garden planning and maintenance and an RHS level 2 practical. She is also currently studying for her RHS level 2 plant growth and propagation.

James Hill – Trainee Gardens Manager

James has 5 years of experience in high-quality garden maintenance. He has a PA1 and PA6 certificate and is currently studying for the RHS level 2 diploma. 

Jack Bishop – Apprentice

Jack has 5 years of experience in hard landscaping and is currently starting a level 2 Landscape Operative apprenticeship. 

In his spare time, he loves going to the gym to keep fit, and playing football with his friends.

Blue Star

Did you know, at Blue Star we offer garden services and garden care to all landscaping and maintenance contracts, including new build developments, commercial buildings, offices, including interior plants as well as any communal gardens. The core of our business is within the prestigious retirement village sector, which means that our work is of the highest quality, and we listen to what our client’s ideal environment would look like. 

Not only do we revitalise existing planting schemes, but we also maintain them, can create new areas such as wildflower sections, flower beds, fruit and vegetable plots as well as structured planting, which benefits the whole community that the gardens will serve.

Find out more about what Blue Star Gardens do here.

We are proud to serve many major clients such as McCarthy and Stone Retirement Lifestyles, Your Life Management Services, Taylor Wimpey, First Port, and Pepper Fox Property Management

Are you a development, house, area, or property manager? Are you interested in finding more about how we can maintain and improve a communal garden? Give our friendly team a call on 07703562081 and we’ll be happy to have a chat with you to see how we can improve the outdoor space you have.

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138 Western Road
West Sussex


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