Susannah Curtis

Susannah is on a Specialist Horticultural Placement with the Floral and Ornamental Team at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Susannah Curtis in the garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

I was always encouraged to garden and grow veg when I was younger, but it wasn’t until I was at university and thinking about my future career goals that I understood I could pursue a path in horticulture. I realised I needed the outdoors, the weather, the physical graft and the creativity of working within an ever-changing, living space – from both a vocational point of view, and for my mental health, as I matured to become an adult.

I came to RHS Garden Hyde Hall’s Specialist Horticultural Placement after spending a year working in Dumfries at Threave School of Heritage Gardening. The contrasting climatic conditions between East Anglia – where I grew up – and Scotland’s south-west coast have presented me with varying growing conditions, and this has allowed me to broaden my experience with differing plants. Here at Hyde Hall I am relishing the intensive time for rose pruning (which thrive on the garden’s Essex clay), as well as being able to build up my knowledge of dry garden species by working with them hands-on. 

My time at Hyde Hall is racing by, but I’m enjoying the variety of each day, working throughout the different ornamental areas of the gardens, and soaking up all the creativity and knowledge from the team around me. I’ve already been a part of so many different tasks, from planting up new ornamental borders, to designing and weaving living willow sculptures for structural winter interest.

I have really appreciated being able to advance my practical skills to boost my employability in the future. My confidence has certainly developed in using these skills regularly alongside a kind, capable and welcoming team of all ages and experience.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.