Lots has been written about professional development, career development, study leave etc. and until my time at Great Dixter, I’ve loved the sound of that but have ’till now seen my continued journey through horticulture as a constant upwards learning curve not requiring weekend courses and late night swatting. To begin with it was how to make good mixes as a labourer for the guys doing the building within a landscaping team and how to sweep up and clean tools thoroughly. Later it became how to identify plants and what conditions they best thrived in and after that it was scale, proportion and drawing skills as I began to develop my skills as a garden designer.
In recent years my time has become more taken up with administrative work and less and less with the hands on stuff. This would seem like progress to most people but it’s something I’ve found very difficult to adapt to, and no matter how many inspiring images sit on the walls around my computer my best garden design ideas still come whilst I have a fork in hand gardening or when I am on site moving and shifting materials around. I’ve always found it easier to think whilst outdoors and no doubt this was what pulled in to gardening in the first place so it should be no surprise now that I’m trying to find ways of including site work, both landscaping and gardening as part of my working week. The only trouble is time!
Having to always be ready to jump in to any aspect of the business as well as get through my own workload is the nature of being in charge. I have been looking for a way to hide, disappear off and reconnect with the gardener in me who can do one task at a time without having to respond to emails, chase deliveries or organise fee proposals and not only have I found it I think the prospect excites me more than anything I’ve done in years. I’m going to Great Dixter http://www.greatdixter.co.uk for a week in June. I told Fergus I was good at sweeping and pushing wheelbarrows around and that I wanted to be a junior for a week. Kindly he offered me the chance to join them and I can’t wait. What could be better for getting back in touch with plants than spending a week at one of the most exciting gardens in the country? Sharing enthusiasm for our chosen professions is a responsibility we all should relish and it’s made me think about ways I can help this starting out in horticulture too.