It was an honour to be asked by curator Dan Luscombe to carry on Emma's blog, and a little surreal but equally a pleasure to be continuing a thread I read as research for my interviews at Bedgebury. I hope I can provide a similar insight into life at the Pinetum and maybe also inspire future craftspeople.
My interest in trees was sparked while studying Countryside Management at Harper Adams where forestry was my favourite module. The degree included a placement year where I was employed as a scientific assistant at the Environmental Research Centre (UFZ) in Leipzig. Working on projects concerned with Ecosystem Services, scenario studies and land use change demonstrated the huge importance of forests to mankind and the planet as a whole.
After finishing university I worked as a landscaper before going to Canada where I stayed for the best part of two years predominantly on the west coast. After eight months in Vancouver building gardens I moved to a small island as a caretaker of a fruit and nut orchard. Initially a summer position, I stayed there for almost a year together with a trip up the coast to Haida Gwaii. The magic of living in the forest among the Douglas firs and western red cedars was as permeating as the rain, and being among those giant conifers made a huge impression. After travelling across to the east coast I found myself back in Essex with little idea of what to do next except that I knew it had to involve trees.
I found out about Bedgebury when I saw the maternity leave post for Catrina's position advertised. I was fortunate enough to get an interview, meet some of the team and see the site. Though I did not get that job I kept an eye out for vacancies at the Pinetum as I worked as a groundsman for Treetop Services in Essex.
When the apprentice positions were advertised earlier in the year it proved to be second time lucky and I am delighted to be here working and learning.