Big in Japan
Garden and Greenspace Design graduate lays down new roots in Edinburgh
Garden and Greenspace Design graduate Kayoko Takezawa comes from a long line of horticulturalists in Japan – but now she is putting down roots in Edinburgh.
Kayoko, who is originally from Sapporo in northern Japan, has been awarded a first-class honours degree from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and is planning to put what she has learned to use in her horticulture and design business.
“I am a third generation horticulturist,” she said. “My grandfather established a tree nursery and created a formal garden that he gifted to Sapporo City Council. My parents run a plant nursery that specialises in Japanese alpines.
“I have trained in horticulture in both Japan and the UK. I wanted to build on my existing horticultural skills and develop the necessary insights, confidence and disciplines required to become a successful garden designer.
“As I am now settled in Edinburgh, SRUC was the obvious choice for me to further my horticultural training to include design.”
Despite initially struggling with the language barrier – which she overcame with practice, support from her family and feedback from staff and fellow students – Kayoko managed to juggle her studies with running a business and volunteering at the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society’s Bridgend demonstration allotment, growing Japanese vegetables.
During her summer holidays, she returned to Japan to work in her parents’ nursery and assist in the creation of a programme of concerts, performances and educational visits in her grandfather’s garden. She also travelled to Korea to visit green infrastructure projects in Seoul – something she hopes to replicate in Scotland.
Her hard work paid off and in addition to her degree, she won the Horticulture and Landscape Prize for the best honours dissertation, and the SRUC Prize for best fourth year student, in Garden and Greenspace Design.
“I was very lucky to work with some inspirational staff, particularly when working on my dissertation,” said Kayoko, who is returning to Japan for the summer.
“When I come back to Edinburgh, I will carry on developing my design practice. I will also seek to build on my successful time at SRUC and take advantage of new opportunities that come with this.”