Hi, I’m Rowan! I’m a first-year apprentice here at the National Botanic Garden, just coming up to the end of my first year.
I’m eighteen, came straight out of college to this position, and over the last year, I’ve gained so much more confidence and so many new skills. There’s always something new to learn, and everyone is so kind and supportive in teaching me the tasks of their specific areas. From planting the cherry orchard with the Estates team, to plant feeding in the Nursery Glasshouses, I’ve had a go at all kinds of things I would never have had the opportunity to try otherwise.
The trips we’ve taken part in have widened my perspective of the things that gardens can achieve all over the UK. Last November I had a week’s work placement with Aberglasney Gardens, where I got to experience the needs of different gardens throughout the year. We also visited the Newt in Somerset, where we got to see the kind of horticulture that non-botanic gardens might participate in. I love making connections with garden visitors and horticulturalists alike and hearing everyone’s different experiences of gardens.
My favourite thing about working with the Garden has been getting to experience all the seasons. In December, I planted hyacinth bulbs with the Broadwalk team and getting to see them flower in Spring was really satisfying. Working during the winter really showed me all the beauty and cool things to be found in nature even during the “off-season”. I’m very excited to see all the things that the rest of the summer will bring, and have already been enjoying my time amongst the absolute sea of flowers in the Inner Walled Garden.
Beginning work and college during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging at times, but everyone has made it a truly invaluable experience despite the difficulties everyone’s been facing. I wouldn’t exchange this last year for the world. I’m looking forward to the next year of my apprenticeship and all the things still left to learn!