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Trainee blogpost: off to work we mow...

Trainee Will Greenfield blogs about working on the Garden's Systematic Beds alongside Section Supervisor John Kapor and his assistants Julie Clos and Pete Wrapson
Will (far right) with fellow trainees Barbara and Bryony Will (far right) with fellow trainees Barbara and Bryony
April 2017

This month we trainees are all back where we started! Having completed one rotation of the different working sections of the Garden I have joined up once again with Head of the Systematic Beds, John Kapor.

John is a long time employee of the garden and runs a tight ship on the Systematic beds. You’d be hard pressed to meet anyone as dexterous with a hoe. Always having one eye on the weather, he’s quick to strike off any emerging weeds when the conditions are just right.

I have helped keep the beds looking at their best. Mowing between the many different shaped beds can seem like a bit of a maze at first. Picking the right mowing line may look confusing but once you get your eye in the mowers do the rest of the work. As well as cutting the grass, edging the beds is a crucial job that maintains the aesthetic of the section. As all the other trainees know the 3.7km of edges along the 157 beds allows you to hone your technique in no time at all.

A huge amount of plants on the section are raised from seed every year, much of which is collected on the beds themselves. One of my first tasks as a trainee in September was seed collecting. Now returning to the section in mid Spring I have been busy sowing seeds and pricking out hundreds of seedlings that will be grown on and eventually planted out in late May. All of the seedlings are grown in the reserve glasshouses behind the scenes. It’s a hive of activity at this time of year and Julie Clos, the Systematic assistant, plays a large part in the organisation of seed sowing times making sure the beds will represent as many genus within the flowering families as possible.

The Systematic Beds are currently in the middle of a renovation project. The layout designed by the original garden Curator, Andrew Murray, was in need of a thorough face-lift bringing the plantings up to date with the latest APG systems related to modern genetic research. All the trainees have been mucking in over the previous months most recently coming together to lay the turf on the first area to be renovated.

The first six months of the traineeship have gone by in a flash. Time flies when you are having fun and it goes even quicker when you get to learn and grow as a botanical horticulturalist amongst such fantastic plant collections.

Will Greenfield - Systematics
Horticultural Trainee


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Publication Date
08/05/2017