What does it take to change your career path? My friend Selina Tan left a photo editor career to pursue her passion, horticulture. After volunteering in different gardens, from Finsbury Park to Kew Gardens, last year (2018) she joined the Royal Parks Horticultural Apprenticeship Programme, GROW, in Richmond. By visiting the apprentices at least once a month, this personal project, in collaboration with The Royal Parks, aims to document a year of learning in the apprentices’ career, while showcasing the seasons.
JANUARY / 4C
“I often think of those people who say that winter is sad because there are no flowers” - Selina Tan
FEBRUARY / 12C
This apprenticeship programme has been running for over five decades and it combines on the job training with Horticulture qualifications. The programme spans for three years, after which apprentices are fully qualified.
Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park covering an area of 955 hectares. That is why apprentices move from one location to the next by bike.
Ident tests are conducted every other week to ensure apprentices are able to identify the different flowers they are working with. One of the February tests was about winter camellias. The differences are so subtle that is fascinating.
Wisteria pruning at Pembroke Lodge, possibly the most popular spot with visitors in Richmond. Pictured, Danny, a former apprentice, and Selina.
Sophia is an apprentice at Isabella Plantation, Richmond. She is an Art graduate. On the day I visited she was working on the streams.
MARCH / 14C / STRONG WINDS
“There are three Ds of pruning - Dead, Diseased, Damaged” - Selina Tan
“Roses go through two prunings, the first is to avoid wind rock, precisely what we are seeing today” - Selina Tan