Aiden was an RHS Apprentice from 2018 to 2020 and is now a Horticulturist at RHS Garden Wisley
I was lucky enough to have grown up with a good sized and mature garden at my disposal. From a young age, I followed my parents around as they worked on the garden. My mother especially encouraged me to join in.
Growing up, it was never apparent to me that horticulture was a career path. I was always guided towards academia and have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While I found the subject interesting, I wasn’t attracted to any of its career paths.
Shortly after graduation, my mother was seriously ill. I chose to stay at home to care for her and help around the house. Just before her diagnosis, she’d sowed and planted out a lot of vegetables, so one of the main ways I helped out was by caring for the garden.
This planted the seed literally, and I started looking up horticulture careers. A link to the RHS website popped up on the computer, and so too did apprenticeships. I was a little unsure at first. I knew that apprenticeships are usually for 16–19 year olds and I was a little older but ultimately, I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to try, so I applied.
It didn’t take me long to realise that I'd found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Everyone in the RHS loves what they do, and inspires colleagues and visitors alike with their passion. They are always willing to share their knowledge. Their passion is evident in the gorgeous gardens.
A two-year apprenticeship is an excellent way of practising the knowledge and skills you gain from your time shared between the RHS and college. There is no shortage of opportunities to experience and build a wide network with other areas within the horticulture industry. I passed the apprenticeship with distinction, which is testament to how well the combined mentoring efforts of the RHS and the college prepared me.
When an opportunity came up for a horticulturist in the new Wellbeing Garden at Wisley it was exactly what I was looking for. It isn’t often that you get to see the making of a brand new garden. It’s a fantastic opportunity to watch your hard work come to fruition and really make a difference.