It is with a certain amount of trepidation that I follow in the footsteps of Mike I’Anson to write this column. I’ve loved gardening all my life but only became a professional horticulturalist twelve years ago when I left my job at a national charity managing some of their marketing activities and their information database.
I was lucky enough to be part of the trainee programme at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and spent three years working my way through the different departments, spending time in such iconic buildings and locations as the Palm House, the Japanese Gateway garden and Cambridge Cottage garden. After training I stayed on and worked in the Tropical Nursery for two years with responsibility for propagating plants for the Temperate House displays. I loved every minute of it but my husband and I really wanted to move away from London and we had fallen in love with North Yorkshire after coming on holiday here in 2005.
I’d already discovered Helmsley Walled Garden whilst on holiday and knew I wanted to be a part of the team. Lucky me, I was taken on, first as a part-time gardener and later as both gardener and Marketing Manager, making use of skills from my previous working life. I can’t think of any other job I’d rather be doing. As Mike mentioned in his last column I’m interested in medicinal plants and look after the physic garden here as well as having a more general interest in garden history and hope to share a bit of that with you.
But I also love plants which is probably the main reason I became a gardener. There’s nothing better than planning, planting and watching grow a bed or border, seeing what works and what doesn’t, blending colour and foliage, tall and short; plants for movement like grasses and plants that act as the main event in a bed like a big swathe of Helenium or Anthemis. So I’m hoping you’ll enjoy sharing in my part of the work that goes on here at Helmsley Walled Garden and also some of my successes and failures in my own garden.
One thing I’ll be doing a lot this year in my own garden is taking pictures. I had a bit of bulb planting spree last autumn but by the time it came to planting I couldn’t remember exactly where I’d planned to put them. Fortunately for me, the spaces I did put them in worked rather well and I had a great burst of colour that is still there. I’ll be ordering lots more for next spring and this time I’ll be really organised, taking pictures now so, even when the garden is fuller in autumn I will know where to plant the glorious bursts of red, yellow and orange I’m planning.
I hope we’ll see you at Helmsley Walled Garden this summer, if you see me working in the garden, come and say hello. Enjoy your gardening.
Tricia Harris June 2017