RHS Horticultural Advisor

Helen's introduction to horticulture came on a family holiday when she was given a kit with a plastic rack and test tubes for rooting cuttings. They rooted well and she ended up with a bedroom full of plants.

Having studied history at York University, Helen applied to Askham Bryan Agricultural/Horticultural College once her degree finished. The National Certificate in Horticulture was a practical one-year course, which gave Helen an excellent grounding in the basic skills and science of horticulture.

Attending interviews at Balmoral, Cambridge Botanic Gardens and RHS Garden Wisley, she decided to accept a placement on the two-year Wisley Diploma in Practical Horticulture.

Helen chose cut flower gardening as her dissertation subject and visited Sarah Raven’s cutting garden in order to take pictures and follow the process through. She ended up being awarded a National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) prize, and put the money, with an RHS Bursary, towards a trip to the eastern states of North America visiting cut flower farms.

Towards the end of the course, Helen had an opportunity to spend a Sunday in the RHS Gardening Advice kiosk answering members’ enquiries, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Upon leaving Wisley, Helen decided to get experience in floristry shops and later applied for a two-week course at the Jane Packer School in London. However, straight after she was back at Wisley as maternity cover in the RHS Gardening Advice. Helen loved it so much that when a permanent position came up, she applied and has been woking here ever since.

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We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.