Garden blogs

Apprentice Blog – Ellie-May

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Hello, my names Ellie-May and I’m a second-year apprentice at The National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to learn from many different people and have a wide range of horticultural experiences. I’ve spent time on each team and been able to participate in all of their daily routines, ranging from watering and propagation in the Nursery Glasshouses to grass cutting and tree planting in the wider estate. The apprenticeship has also given me the opportunity to have a placement week at Abergwili museum, which was a great insight into the vastness of horticulture. Hopefully, if COVID allows I will be spending my other placement week with a local florist!

Being an apprentice also means that we get to visit other gardens to work or just to visit. At the end of last year we went to a local veg box producer to see how production horticulture works, and whilst we were there, we lent a hand. In December 2019 we also visited RHS Wisley, this trip was for the whole team to see how other gardens present themselves in the winter and to show the difference between Botanical and non-Botanical gardens.

As I am coming to the end of my time at The National Botanic Garden I have begun to reflect on my time. Being able to work with so many skilled and knowledgeable people has been one of the best aspects of the whole experience, the knowledge they have is invaluable. I’ve also made so many long-term friends for which I will be forever grateful. My favourite rotation was with the Estates team. Whilst on rotation with them I was able to use all the machinery, plant trees, do some fencing, and cut lots of grass!

I would also like to take this time to thank everyone at the Gardens for sharing their knowledge with me and taking the time to guide me into the amazing world of horticulture. I will be sad to leave but I hope that one day ill be able to come back and hopefully share my knowledge with a future apprentice.


Ellie-May Branford – May 2021