More funds available to learn new gardening skills

Opportunities for professional gardeners to learn specialist skills such as high-hedge cutting or hurdle-making from teams in other gardens are opening up because significant funds have been made available.

The Historic & Botanic Garden Bursary Scheme (HBGBS) can provide grants for gardeners to undertake up to 120 secondments or job exchanges over the next two years, using money allocated by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

As reported on 16 January, money is also available from the Professional Gardeners' Guild Trust (PGGT) through the Finnis Scott Award, which was set up after £40,000 was received from the Finnis Scott Foundation.

"Secondments are very valuable for both the participant and the team they are helping," said scheme coordinator Fiona Dennis.

"A gardener might want to know how to do lime pleaching, as they do at Sandringham for six weeks every year. Or you might want to learn about how to manage long borders like those at RHS Wisley.

"Applicants may also want to shadow a manager, to learn how they deal with health and safety issues, for example."

Head gardeners are being encouraged to put their sites forward as possible work placements.

Both grants are open to professional gardeners across Britain. Applicants for the HBGBS fund can apply at any time and are not restricted to applying to HBGBS partner gardens.

Gardeners will normally need to apply for the Finnis Scott Award by 28 February but as this is the first year it is available there is a certain amount of flexibility.

- For further information, contact fiona.dennis@english-heritage.org.uk (HBGBS) or trust@pgg.org.uk (PGGT).


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