Lawrence Weston

Lawrence Weston on a Professional Work Placement in Edibles at RHS Garden Rosemoor

Lawrence Weston

I first applied for the Professional Work Placement in Edibles at RHS Garden Rosemoor on the day the job advert opened in early winter 2020. I was unsuccessful in that first application, and was told to seek further experience and reapply the following year, which is exactly what I did. I am extremely grateful for that extra year of development where I was able to take advantage of a variety of opportunities and broaden my horticultural horizons. An important part of this was joining the Land Workers Alliance and connecting with a variety of likeminded individuals at a similar stage in their careers.

The RHS have been extremely good to me and I am very grateful for the support offered by the team here at Rosemoor. I have developed my understanding of horticultural fundamentals, as well as exploring my own interests. The placement project allowed me to develop my understanding of plant genetic resources by withdrawing and growing out an accession of a Devonshire landrace wheat from the United States Small Grains Collection. The process of withdrawing seed from an international seed bank and importing it to the UK was an education in itself, but I was also given a small amount of ground to compare the Devonshire landrace to a number of other wheat cultivars from modern commercial varieties to populations comprised a of old wheat genetics.

Whilst the process of grafting tomatoes is relatively common practice for UK nursery people, it was a novelty at Rosemoor and I was able to lead on a tomato grafting experiment that ultimately yielded an 84% graft success rate on the third attempt – trial and error.

In addition to the day to day learning at Rosemoor I have been supported to fulfil a wide range of other learning activities. This included a week spent supporting the build of Carol Klein’s ‘Iconic Horticultural Hero’ garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, where I lead on the design and build of the Fruit and Vegetable space. I also attended the Oxford Real Farming Conference where I was invited to present at a round table discussion with Food, Farming and Fisheries Minster Mark Spencer, and lobby for greater government support for New Entrants into food growing. Additionally, the RHS has supported me in reaching the final of the Young Horticulturalist of the Year 2023, to attend the Alpine Garden Societies Young Persons Weekend, and through a bursary to research Food Growing and Communities in New York City, Detroit and Chicago.

I can wholeheartedly recommend a PWP in Edibles at Rosemoor. I feel I really benefitted from the extra year of experience before coming onto the PWP as it gave me more time to develop my interests, meaning that I was able to fully grasp all opportunities that the RHS can provide. I hope to use my two years with the RHS as a stepping stone onto further study, potentially pursuing a master’s degree in the field of plant genetic resources, whilst continuing to grow organic fruit and veg to feed my friends and family.

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