Amongst new students welcomed to the gardening team at Aberglasney Gardens are Beth Large and Ben Harris, who have recently started the 12-month, funded, training opportunity.
The students are working and learning at the Carmarthenshire gardens as part of the 2023 Student Bursary Scheme.
Beth’s interest in plants began after she finished her degree in English literature. She was unsure about what she wanted to do for a career until she went on a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. She particularly found the glasshouses really inspiring and decided there and then to try and purse a career in horticulture.
Beth began a part time horticulture course - the RHS level 2 theory and was completely hooked from the start. She then progressed to RHS level 2 Practical course at Aberglasney last year and fell in love with the gardens. She said:
“When I heard about the Aberglasney Bursary Scheme I couldn’t wait to apply. I feel incredibly fortunate to be offered this place and I’ve learned so much already. As well as working in the garden we also do projects and weekly plant identifications to help us vastly improve our knowledge through regular practice. Above all, it’s wonderful to help maintain a beautiful garden that many people can come and enjoy.”
Ben Harris’ interest in gardening first developed when he was working at a local garden centre in Derbyshire. His favourite part of the job was learning about all the different plants sold. He decided to start volunteering with the gardening team at a nearby National Trust property and thoroughly enjoyed the practical experience he gained and soon signed up for the RHS level 2 practical certificate.
Upon completing the course, Ben was lucky enough to gain a place on the Historic and Botanic Garden Training Programme and spent a year working as a trainee gardener at Wrest Park. He said:
“While working in a garden near Nottingham I began looking into other traineeships that could further improve my skills and knowledge. I jumped at the chance when offered a place on the Aberglasney Bursary scheme and am now looking forward to the year ahead.”
Before moving to Aberglasney Ben enjoyed walking and cycling in the Peak District. He is now looking forward to exploring the Brecon Beacons during his spare time.
The Bursary at Aberglasney is a 12-month funded training opportunity to work and learn about the historic and diverse gardens. Students gain hands-on experience with the professional gardening team and will be trained in all common UK garden tasks as well as more specialist subjects including specialist bulb planting and a variety of propagation methods.
Aberglasney’s Director of Operations Jim Stribling said:
“All our new students have just fitted right in with the gardening team already. Since our gardens are ever evolving, we are often able to provide students with unique and valuable opportunities to participate in significant landscape projects. With our new Head Gardener, I’m sure this year’s students will enjoy playing a part in making his ideas come to fruition.”