Daniel Jones

Daniel studied for a Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Horticultural Practice from 2018 to 2020 and is now Assistant Gardens Manager for the Rothschild Foundation at Waddesdon

Daniel Jones at RHS Garden Wisley

I really enjoyed my time at RHS Garden Wisley, working and learning among like-minded, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable gardeners. I also liked the mixture of practical work in the garden and theoretical work during lecture weeks. The diversity and range of different cultivated plants in the garden helped me develop my plant knowledge. During my time on the diploma, I took part in the allotment project, and the experience I gained growing my own vegetables from seed I am able to use in my current role when propagating and growing fruit and vegetables.

The opportunities within the horticultural industry are broad, and I was able to partake in many of these while at Wisley, from undertaking an RHS Bursary trip to Andalucía with fellow students, to developing my interest in tropical orchid cultivation with work experience at the Eric Young Orchid Foundation and helping with the RHS stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

As part of the RHS Diploma, I had the opportunity to visit some of the best gardens in the UK and meet the gardeners who look after them. I also took part in several events with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening team, helping to inspire a younger generation into a career in horticulture.

As Head Gardener at Morton Hall Gardens in Worcestershire I led a team of several gardeners and volunteers in the maintenance and development of an eight-acre garden. Working in different teams and leading volunteers during my training helped me when working alongside the team. The garden at Morton Hall is made up of a series of smaller gardens with a range of different plants, from woodland to formal gardens and meadow areas.

The broad range of practical horticultural skills I learnt during my training equipped me to look after these different styles of garden and to rise to different horticultural challenges throughout the gardening year. The underpinning theory has allowed me to make changes to horticultural practices in the garden and to diagnose and effectively treat pest and disease outbreaks.

I recently started a new job as Assistant Gardens Manager for the Rothschild Foundation at Waddesdon Manor. I lead a large team looking after Lord Rothschild’s private garden at Eythrope Gardens. The centrepiece of the garden is a four-acre productive kitchen garden growing fruit, vegetables and flowers for the family and for visitors to Waddesdon Manor and the restaurants and hotel on the estate.

The garden is really varied with lots of Victorian greenhouses, ornamental borders, cut flower borders, orchard and Nerine, Pelargonium and Auricula collections. Almost all of the plants grown in the garden are propagated from seed or cuttings taken in the garden. Surrounding the walled garden is a large parkland including a big snowdrop collection, ornamental parterre and spring bulbs and wild flowers.

The skills I learnt at Wisley have been really helpful in starting my new job, particularly the experience of working with the edibles collections as many of the unusual varieties grown at Wisley are also grown at Eythrope. My experience of working in the glasshouses has also been invaluable.

It is a really exciting opportunity with lots to get stuck into and I am really looking forward to the challenge and responsibility of taking forward a beautiful historic garden, preserving the craft skills used in the garden, while keeping it relevant to modern best practice.

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