Stepping up to the plate

Stepping up to the plate

A gardening collaboration set up by Wedgwood for college students has been so successful it is returning for a second year.

Last year Wedgwood gave 30 students at Reaseheath College, in Nantwich, the chance to

work on garden spaces at the World of Wedgwood, experience the Wedgwood show

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garden build at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, as well as introducing them to gardening experts

at its headquarters in Staffordshire.

Feedback from the students was so positive, Wedgwood and Reaseheath have decided to

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continue the collaboration this year focusing on Wedgwood’s show garden at Chatsworth

Flower Show 2019 designed by RHS Ambassador and horticulturalist Jamie Butterworth. In

addition, students will get to maintain Sam Oven’s relocated show garden from RHS

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Chatsworth Flower Show 2017. They will also get the opportunity carry out garden

maintenance at the World of Wedgwood as well as keeping Jo Thompson’s 2018 Chelsea

Flower Show garden in tip-top condition.

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Reaseheath College tutor David Black believes the experience has been priceless.

He said: “The students have gained so much from their involvement with Wedgwood.

Initially they attended a super careers event at the factory last year, learning how there is

such a strong connection between Wedgwood and the RHS. Students have also enjoyed

working in and around the previous show gardens now rebuilt at the factory, as well as

meeting with Jamie Butterworth and the show team here at the college.

“It has all helped them to realise how important horticulture is, both for the environment in

which we live, and for career opportunities. The students have said just how inspirational it

has been to meet Jamie and wonderful to be involved with Wedgwood at Chatsworth. They

also found it thought provoking to learn of Wedgwood’s involvement with the development

of the RHS.”

At the end of last year, RHS Chatsworth 2019 Wedgwood garden designer Jamie

Butterworth and his award-winning landscaping team talked students through the design

process and logistics of creating a show garden.

After an inspiring talk, Jamie enlisted their help on Wedgwood’s show garden which will be

unveiled on June 5 at the RHS’s newest show.

A group of students are now in charge of growing and tending special plants for it. They will

play a role in the build on-site, helping with the landscape construction and will work on the

garden during the show explaining its details to visitors. They will also help relocate garden

to the World of Wedgwood after the show finishes on 9 June.

Many students have been so impressed by RHS Ambassador Jamie’s achievements that their

aspirations have been fired up for growing their own careers. The fact he is just 24-years-old

has made him incredibly accessible and relatable.

Mature students Bev Williams and Toni Slater, part of the collaboration for 2018, were so

motivated and inspired by the scheme that they will now be creating their own long border

at RHS Chatsworth in June.

Bev and Toni said: “We have been so inspired through the people we have met and the

gardens we have worked on at Wedgwood – that this collaboration has given us the

confidence to take our first steps into the show garden world.

“We feel lucky to have had this opportunity and are excited about where the journey may

take us next.”

Chris Perkins, Head of the World of Wedgwood said: “Supporting education is something

we are passionate about. Our show gardens at Chelsea and Chatsworth have been designed

to celebrate craftsmanship and innovation.

“We’re thrilled that the success of last year’s collaboration has led to an even closer

partnership this year and we are grateful for the students’ help in assisting our team to keep

our gardens beautiful.

“Being able to fire up students’ imaginations by seeing what garden designers can achieve and

giving them hands-on experience at the World of Wedgwood is something we’re proud to

have supported.”

The Wedgwood Garden, designed by horticulturalist and RHS Ambassador, Jamie

Butterworth, has been inspired by RHS founder John Wedgwood’s vision of using the power

of horticulture and plants to connect people and unite communities.

Jamie has drawn inspiration from John Wedgwood’s personal garden and handpicked many

plants from his original plant journal, such as sweet peas, roses, herbs and fruit trees.

With a colour pallet that references Wedgwood’s Jasperware of rich sky blue, lush greens

and deep crimson, the garden design will be simple and scaled back to bring the planting to

the fore. This will echo John Wedgwood’s own sentiments when creating his garden which

was once described as ‘a homely and loveable space’.

The heart of the garden will feature a seating area with a substantial solid oak table created

from an oak tree that grew not far from where John Wedgwood lived in Gloucestershire.

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Steve Ott
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