Gardeners celebrate blooming good year at castle

THREE green-fingered locals are hoping they’ve mastered the skills to progress into a career in gardening, thanks to a year-long placement at Picton Castle and Gardens.

Adam Freeman, of Pembroke, Ruth Morris, of Lampeter Velfrey, and Claire Poynter, of Monkton, undertook a 14-month Heritage Horticulture Skills Scheme (HHSS) work placement at the castle and grounds, under the leadership of head gardener Rod Milne.

The Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project focuses on the practical side of horticulture and offers an opportunity to hone skills in specialised accredited modules, with an emphasis on standards of practical excellence.

The students learnt many specialist gardening skills including plant identification, lifting and laying turf, propagation techniques, planting herbaceous and woody plants, making paths and working on the creation of a vegetable and edible plant garden in an area to the south of the walled garden.

During their placement, the group was also fortunate enough to witness preparations for the Queen’s visit to the castle.

Following their graduation from the scheme, Adam plans to develop his own gardening business, Ruth wants to specialise in nursery work and Claire, who has a special interest in wildflowers and herbs, hopes to become a professional gardener.

They follow in the footsteps of previous successful graduates, some of whom have gone on to work at Kew Gardens and various National Trust sites.

The scheme is currently seeking a fresh intake of trainees to enrol on the next – and final – course, which commences in September.

As part of the HHSS traineeship, students benefit from a £11,000 bursary (funded by the HLF), undertake RHS Level 2 Practical Horticulture and in addition, a new heritage qualification at Level 3 has also been created through Lantra – further demonstrating the high level of practical competence graduating students achieve.

Visit www.hhss.co.uk/en_gb/faq for more information or call Picton Castle on 01437 751326.

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