When Rosie Burgon graduated with a degree in Horticulture from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), she never imagined that within just a few years she would be running her own business.
Six years later, she is in her third season growing professional-standard cut flowers for the wholesale market in Glasgow – with plans to supply the whole of Scotland in the future.
She set up her business, Scottish Cut Flowers, at the start of 2017 in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of importing.
At her flower farm, which is based between a Victorian walled garden and a poly tunnel site in Tayside, she grows blooms and foliage for florists and the public without using herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, fertilisers or preservatives.
Rosie, 27, from Perthshire, said: “The course helped prepare me for running my own business despite me being adamant throughout the modules that it was pointless as I would never start my own business.
“Luckily some of the information stuck with me – now I just wish I had paid slightly more attention.”
She originally chose to study at SRUC because of the flexibility of the course structure.
“I wanted to study for the full four years to achieve my honours degree, but at the same time I liked the flexibility of the course which meant that if I wanted to leave after one, two or three years I would still have gained an HNC, HND or general degree over that time,” she said.
“My most notable achievement was actually completing my final year. I had become very sick going into my final semester and was considering dropping out of the course completely.
“After discussing options with my tutors and getting some extended deadlines, I felt supported enough to give it a go. I had a huge list of reports and a little thing called a dissertation to write but I got it done, with the encouragement of SRUC staff and a huge amount of determination.”
During the last two summers of her course, Rosie got a summer job as a crop walker on a co-operative strawberry farm, before becoming a supervisor. When she graduated, she was offered a full-time job as an assistant grower and was able to learn more about commercial scale production.
She then worked for two years as assistant manager of a food hall before founding her business.
“I am very proud of the growth my business has already made but hope that I can expand it further so that I supply, not only Glasgow, but the whole of Scotland with home-grown flowers to help do my bit to reduce the environmental impact of importing,” she said.