How I got started - Sarah Tull, scholarship student, Writtle College

- How did you get into horticulture?

When I was young I used to help my mum in the garden. I was amazed that the sticks I planted in the ground would grow. When I left school I went to Writtle College to do a three-year National Diploma, which I've just finished. In my sandwich year I worked at Cobham Hall and since March I've also worked at a Tomlins Garden Centre in Brentwood Essex.

- What's a typical day for a student?

We covered everything from tree surgery and planting bedding schemes to brickwork and pruning. We'd spend half our time in the classroom and half outside doing practical sessions.

- Who or what was your inspiration?

My interest in gardening came from my family rather than being inspired by any celebrities. My granddad encouraged me with my gardening.

- What made you apply for the Peter Seabrook scholarship?

I heard about it through college. I wanted to carry on my education but didn't want to get into debt. Then I heard that if I was successful I would have to write an article about the experience at the end of the year and that sounded really interesting. I found out in June that I'd won £3,000 a year to attend the two-year Foundation degree in horticulture at the college.

- What has been your best experience?

Going on field trips, especially the one to Kew. I loved the tropical glasshouses and the bonsai house at Wisley.

- What has been your worst experience?

Cold and wet weather, when you're standing an inch deep in mud. At Writtle we had plots to maintain and mine was standing in water.

- What do you do in your spare time?

I volunteer at the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary and I go to my allotment most evenings.

- What does the future hold?

My visits to the botanic gardens at Kew and Oxford have inspired me. I would like to work in a historic or botanical garden in the future.


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