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So long farewell...

The seven TraineesThe seven Trainees
We say a fond farewell to our Trainees who have been rotating around the seven sections of the Garden over the last year. Trainee (and former teacher) Robyn blogs about what she and the others feel they’ve accomplished from their year-long training and we find out about the green pastures that lie ahead for them as they leave CUBG.

August 2017

For the final blog post of the year, I’m based on the Demonstration & Display (D&D) section, a section that covers a wide range of planting all over the Garden. To keep everything looking good relies on the hard work and dedication of the section’s Supervisor Pete Kerley, assistant David Austrin, and various volunteers (as well as us trainees of course!)

Over the last few weeks we’ve been focusing on sprucing up the Winter Garden, digging out perennial weeds, trimming hedges and forking over the beds where necessary to keep everything looking tidy and cared for.

Elsewhere in the Garden we keep a close eye on the beautifully planted container displays dotted around the fountain, Dry Garden, Glasshouse Range and old Main Gate, watering them regularly and deadheading when time permits. We’ve also added some new planting in the dry, shady borders by the Brookside entrance, including Echinacea ‘White Swan,’ Hakonechloa macra, Ceratostigma willmottianum and Acontium carlmichaelii.

I feel like everything has come full circle now as our trainee year draws to a close. In my first week as a nervous novice gardener, I spent time learning how to use a theodolite to ensure perfect levels before trimming the yew hedges bordering the Cory Lawn, and we’ve just started on this task again. It’s still a tricky piece of kit to get used to, but I’m much more confident using a hedge trimmer these days!

This year has certainly flown by, and it’s been an incredible experience. All seven of us have had the opportunity to work and learn in a place that isn’t just beautiful, but also at the forefront of cutting edge research into plant science. We’ve had the chance to work with specialists in a wide range of plant material including alpines, tropical orchids and rare native wildflowers, trying to learn as much as we can, with challenging plant identification tests thrown in for good measure!

I for one will always look back fondly on my time here, and if somebody reading this is wondering whether or not to apply, my advice would be to go for it! Competition is stiff, and while you don’t need to be an expert you do need to be committed, very hard working and prepared to learn as much as you can. Some horticultural qualifications and practical gardening experience will also stand you in very good stead. Having swapped a career in teaching for one in horticulture, I can honestly say I made a great decision, and can’t wait to see what the future holds. With most of us heading on into further training/employment at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, RHS Garden Wisley, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Tresco Abbey Gardens and Trentham Gardens, I’m sure our gardening careers are just beginning to bloom!

Robyn Young - Demonstration and Display
Horticultural Trainee


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Publication Date
30/08/2017