Trainee horticulturist joins Birmingham Botanic Gardens


Birmingham Botanic Gardens, the heritage attraction and independent educational charity, have welcomed a new intern gardener as they continue their commitment to training the next generation of horticulturalists.

He secured funding from the National Gardens Bursary Scheme to allow 32-year-old Liz Jones to do a 12-month internship. She joined Matt Padbury, 25, who began his Finnis Scott Foundation-supported intern program in September 2020. Her contract was extended until December 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns.

The program was made possible through a special partnership that BBG has established with the Working For Gardeners Association (WFGA), which administers the innovative Work and Retrain as a Gardener Scheme (WRAGS) program, offering hands-on horticulture training in gardens private.

Liz, who lives in Stirchley and works in the public sector, developed an interest in plants through a love of botanical art and organic cultivation of fruits and vegetables on her housing estate.

“I heard about the program while studying for my HRH qualifications as a WRAGS representative and attended college to talk about it,” she said. “I can’t wait to be at Les Jardins, in particular to deepen my knowledge of the maintenance and propagation of plants and of preserving their environment. “

Matt, from Solihull, decided to switch back to a gardener after working in IT. In addition to training in the Gardens, he is also a part-time gardener working for private clients.

“I quickly realized that an office job was not for me,” he said. “I have loved the outdoors and gardening from a young age and I grew up in my parents’ garden so I decided gardening was what I wanted to do,” he said.

“The program was recommended to me by former students while I was studying horticulture. It’s a fantastic opportunity to work in a botanical garden and also to finish my studies. I love the great diversity of plants, the extremely knowledgeable staff and the simple fact of being in the gardens.

Interns work two days a week with the small team of Westbourne Road Charity Gardens horticultural experts, learning a variety of hands-on horticultural skills. They have the opportunity to work on high priority seasonal jobs, look after the collections in the four exhibition greenhouses and help the horticultural team with their busy tasks.

They also learn to operate industrial-size power tools, including mowers, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers and trimmers, gain knowledge of plant propagation in the nursery and planting displays in the nursery. gardens and exhibition greenhouses.

Elizabeth Frostick, Director of Development of the Gardens, said:

“We are delighted to have secured funding to support another apprentice gardener. It’s not only great for the Gardens to add to the strength of the team. It also continues a long tradition of helping the training of the gardeners and horticulturalists of tomorrow.

“Those who have been trained in the Gardens can be found all over the country and in many of the most prestigious gardens. As a charitable organization, we rely on income from admissions, events and catering, grants, memberships and donations, so we are extremely grateful to our funders, the Finnis Scott Foundation and the National Gardens. Bursary Scheme for their invaluable support. We couldn’t do this without them.

Birmingham Botanic Gardens, which opened in 1832, includes 15 acres of land, four historic greenhouses and over 7,000 species of plants – one of the Midlands’ most diverse collections – and is also home to the British National Bonsai Collection and the National Cyclamen Collection.

Wayne Williams, chief gardener at Birmingham Botanic Gardens, said:

“It is always a pleasure to welcome interns eager to learn new skills from our team of experienced gardeners, and we look forward to welcoming Liz and expanding our work with Matt, so that they gain a solid basis for their future horticultural career. “


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