As Development Officer, I get to talk about the Garden all the time! This can be through print or press, in person and, increasingly, through digital media. All my marketing effort is focused on introducing more people to the strengths, secrets and joys of the Garden, and encouraging them to come back for another visit.
Stunning plant portraits are scattered throughout the Garden’s publicity materials, which include 70,000 leaflets produced each year and distributed throughout the Eastern region, along with accompanying posters. This focus allows us also to run a seasonal theme through our printed and related materials, so for example, we introduced banners and signage at the new Brookside Gate that change with and reflect the seasons to encourage people to visit year round. This approach runs through the design of this new website, which has been well over a year in the making. Wanting to bring the Garden to life on the printed and digital page also involved commissioning a new map of the Garden, which introduces colour and an architectural element.
I also manage external communications for the Garden, including with journalists, specialist gardening press and communications teams across the University. I represent the Garden in the marketing consortium, Great Days Out, of which I am currently Chair. This group of attractions within one hour of Cambridge all offer high quality days out for the family and proceeds on the sound philosophy that there is strength in numbers. Internally, I am responsible for the marketing and communications materials for the Friends of CUBG, including their application form, producing three issues of Friends’ News each year and the bi-monthly Friends E-news.
I first became passionate about plants in my early twenties. A stint acquiring wholesale propagation skills at Blooms of Bressingham convinced the Garden I could join the trainee horticulturalist scheme while also taking up the Development Officer role. The plant and horticultural knowledge gained through hands-on working in the Garden stands me in good stead for the development aspect of my role. This involves working with Garden colleagues to develop projects such as the redevelopment of the Glasshouse Range or creation of the Schools’ Garden, from refining the brief, sourcing suppliers through to fundraising and reporting. Associated with this, I have also established, publicise and administer two funding streams identified as key to future development of the Garden: the Giving in Memory and Leave a Legacy schemes.
Although the switch to gardening and plants looked unfounded, my degree in Russian and Italian from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, did mean I wasn’t fazed by the sudden use of botanical Latin in everyday conversation! Similarly, although I began working life at another Cambridge destination, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the transition from paintings to plants or from inside to outside is not quite so startling as it might first appear. Both offer an inspirational alternative to the classroom for learning and enjoying the world about us, and if I get to talk about the Garden and plants all the time, so much the better!