Jane Shaw left school to work in a number of jobs, including darkroom assistant and a brief stint in The Royal Navy. She graduated as a graphic designer and worked as a runner/driver on a TV set before enjoying employment as a bookseller on Charing Cross Road. At the weekends she volunteered with BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) and, hooked by the horticultural bug, enrolled on a gardening course. She volunteered at Chelsea Physic Garden, worked in Hyde Park and completed a three-month internship at Kew before jetting off to Greece and experiencing the unique gardening internship chronicled in Talking to Zeus. She is in her early thirties and continues to work as a gardener.