The fascinating way a plant can transform a garden
IN my career as a professional gardener I have always been fascinated by plants and how they have the ability to transform a garden or landscape. I was taught that a well designed garden should be as equally enchanting at night as it is during the day.
And there is no better feeling than seeing your hard work and knowledge of plants come together at the end of a project and seeing your customers delighted with what has been achieved.
I had worked for many landscapers and tree surgeons as a kid and was always in awe of their knowledge.
I went to college for three years and trained as a landscape designer with John Wheatley, who is a five times gold medal winner at the Chelsea flower show, chairman of the Dahlia society and a judge of the RHS Bristol in Bloom competition.
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I started a basic design year and then went on to the advanced design year. I remember sitting in class as John was teaching the art of designing and how to incorporate the right plant for the right place in a garden.
He said that if a professional gardener selected the right plant then minimal maintenance will be needed.
But what really stuck in my mind more than anything else was his passion for plants and how he presented in a way we could all understand and find interesting.
He made you want to learn too which is vital. He inspired me to continue with my quest for knowledge.
I wanted to learn about the scientific principles of plants and soils.
I wanted to know what goes on inside them and why they do what they do; things like the production of sugar through photosynthesis.
I have a natural curiosity about how and why things work in nature.
So I then continued my training with the Royal Horticulture Society for a further two years at Bristol Zoo education centre.
I then qualified as an advanced RHS Horticulturist.
We learned that by understanding what exactly is going on inside a plant we can then understand how to turn garden weeds into fertilisers and that by injecting sugar into young tomato plants with a piece of wool and sugar water it will produce much bigger and sweeter fruit.
Steve England is an (RHS) horticulturist, amateur naturalist and chairman of the Stoke Park steering group. He lives in Lockleaze and has spent his whole life at Stoke Park from playing there as a boy to studying its history, wildlife, and pre historic past. Contact him at email@example.com.