Ryan lives in Leigh, near Manchester. At 17 Ryan had an accident which left him paralysed from the shoulders down. Today he’s running a successful gardening business. Here he tells Able Magazine his story…

After spending six months in the spinal injuries unit at Southport I spent quite a few years wondering what kind of life I could make for myself but over the last couple of years I have gradually been concentrating on my true passion, gardening and setting up a new business involving creative gardening.

The new gardening business is now a great success – after lots of hard work and support from the Access to Work scheme to employ somebody to be my arms and my legs and support me with my business. Even though I’m paralysed and cannot physically do gardening, I can still guide people and show them exactly how I would like things to be done with gardening projects. There is just a lot of ‘Left a bit and right a bit’; we do eventually get there in the end.


I absolutely love gardening and find it so therapeutic, especially getting outdoors in the nice fresh air. It is amazing to see an established plant being produced from just a tiny seed. My gardening business ‘Grow Your Ideas’ is all about inspiring people with the creative possibilities of gardening, no matter of their ability. We currently do a wide variety of creative projects involving air plants, succulents and alpines, as well as miniature gardens.

The day-to-day running of the business involves interacting with customers and giving them advice. In the mornings we are quite busy doing lots of packing and getting the nice fresh creative orders for the customers. In the afternoons we go to the nursery and do lots of propagating, cuttings and repotting.

We are always making new creative gardening kits that we send out to customers so they can make their own little miniature gardens either indoors or outdoors. We do plan on doing a lot more craft fairs and flower shows over the next few years to try to get more exposure for the business.

I would say, if you have a dream to go for it, no matter what your ability. There is enough support from the Government to help you get started with your own business as well as lots of business startup grants. My philosophy is to concentrate on what you are able to do even if you do have a severe disability.

I’m always on the lookout for new green fingered friends so please do come along to the Facebook page and say hi!

You can also see the kind of work we are doing on my website: www.growyourideas.co.uk . Not forgetting the 20% discount for Able Magazine readers! Please use the code ‘ablemag’ in the final checkout.

fb.com/ growyourgardenideas