Carol Klein has gardening in her blood. She recalls the time when, aged just two years old, she appeared in her mother’s kitchen with a bucket of soil and emptied it onto the lino floor to make her own garden.
'I have always loved gardening and one of the people who introduced me to it was my grandad, who had an allotment,' she said.
Carol's grandad also once worked on the estate which is being developed as RHS Garden Bridgewater. He was employed in the gardens of Worsley New Hall and, as a child, she remembers playing in the neighbouring woods. 'He told me a bit about working there, but that was during the Edwardian era.'
As well as having these memories, she has a Helleborus niger given to her grandad when he left his job as a gardener. ‘It has been circulated throughout the family,’ she said.
‘My mum used to grow a really lovely big clump of it. She gave me a little bit and lots to friends and family as well. It does much better up here (Salford) in this lovely black soil than it does in my heavy clay (Devon), but it's nice to have a memento.’
Thrilled to be Bridgewater's ambassador
All this makes Carol the perfect choice as RHS Ambassador to support the Society’s fifth garden and she is really looking forward to making a difference in Salford and to the people living in England’s North West.
‘I think this new garden is hugely important to the local community and in terms of horticulture. I hope it's going to encourage lots of people who eventually might become gardeners,’ Carol said.
She added: I'm really looking forward to helping as much as I possibly can to spread the word, particularly in terms of community and kids.’
An amazing opportunity
Carol sees that as well as RHS Bridgewater being a wonderful opportunity for the RHS to try something a little different, this is also a chance to consult local people about what they want from the garden and to spread the word about Salford. ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity all round.’
‘It’s so terrific that Salford Council is so involved,’ she said, having earlier learnt she and local councillor Derek Antrobus shared a teacher at school!
She is hopeful of great engagement from the local community with the new garden. Visitors won't even have to get in their cars: 'One of the best things is that you can get to RHS Bridgewater on the bus!'