Proper horticultural journalism

Since starting at 'The Garden', one of the things I have most anticipated is actual original writing that will go into an issue of the magazine

The garden designed by Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014Every year the trainee of The Garden gets the chance to write articles that will become features, and often these are within the trainee’s areas of knowledge and interest. So, with my foremost area of interest being garden design, I was excited when I knew what my first one would be – a profile of a garden in London whose owner’s daughter is the award winning designer Kate Gould. You may have seen Kate at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower show, where she worked with Alan Titchmarsh on the Britian in Bloom garden (left).

But, back to the task at hand, this was my first chance to do some actual horticultural journalism.

As the day of the visit approached, I did feel somewhat apprehensive, bordering on nervous. Now, this may have been something to do with the fact that I had previously met Kate in a job interview context. A job interview context that was ultimately unsuccessful. But, then again, if it had been successful, I wouldn’t be here talking to you, so, hurrah!

Anyway, with that aside, my apprehensions were not because of meeting and talking to Kate and her mother, but because I didn’t want to miss anything or generally do anything to compromise doing a good job for the magazine. To create a feature like this, we need all the key information. This means, particularly at the interview, we have to pick up on even the most passing of sentences, and also research the garden thoroughly in terms of its history, key design elements, the planting palette, why the owner did this or that, and so on. I did attempt to make sure I got all this information by taking a Dictaphone as well as ordering all of my questions in my notebook and allowing space for the answers I’d get. Needless to say the order I had intended did not actually happen and my information proceeded to be all over the place, even floating on pages in the middle of my notebook! However, thankfully, it was all there and I didn’t even need the Dictaphone.

It turned out I had no reason to feel apprehensive as the whole interview and visit was really interesting and enjoyable. Kate and her mother were incredibly easy to talk to (yes, she did remember me from the interview), get on with and they volunteered an awful lot of information without the need for prompting (or even some of my questions). Even the weather was good so the garden and plants looked great. I’m looking forward to putting it all together and turning it into a cohesive magazine feature. For most features, there is usually a delay of a year between the initial visit and publishing so, as it probably won’t be published until after my traineeship has finished, I’ll have to be patient in order to see the finished product…

** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **

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