From Shooting Stars to Shooting for the Stars
After a high-flying career as a press photographer – which saw her hanging out of helicopters and climbing church bell towers to get the perfect image – Horticulture student Julie Bull is now very much grounded in her gardening business.
As a photographer with the Bournemouth Echo, Birmingham Post and Mail, and latterly the Edinburgh Evening News, she spent 30 years photographing all walks of life, from street children in Guatemala and Oxfam’s aid work during the genocide in Rwanda to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Hogmanay concerts and fireworks.
Following on from this career, she worked as a Police Scotland call handler receiving 101 and 999 calls.
“I have always enjoyed gardening,” said Julie, 50, from Midlothian. “I would watch the contract gardener through the bombproof windows at Police Scotland and on a good day could just about inhale the smell of the freshly cut grass. That’s when I decided to take the plunge and become a full-time Horticulture student and purchased my first secondhand lawnmower from Gumtree.”
After completing an SVQ Level 2 course in Amenity Horticulture, she progressed on to the NC Horticulture course at SRUC’s Oatridge campus in West Lothian.
While it’s a far cry from the days of photographing Nelson Mandela, royalty, and being blessed by the Dalai Lama, the four years since she set up her gardening/ companion gardening business Flower Power have flown by.
This sees her providing a personalised gardening service for people, either as a lone gardener or as a companion garden working alongside clients at their pace.
“I volunteer with Cyrenians at Midlothian Community Hospital Garden and buddy up with ‘green prescribers’ who are referred by their GP or support worker,” she said.
“Being able to share space and time in the community garden with folk is a precious thing – especially after Covid-19 and all the lockdowns. This complements the Trellis Therapeutic Gardening courses I’m completing alongside my SRUC studies.”
In the future, she would love to have enough knowledge and confidence to become a Community Garden Co-ordinator working alongside volunteers or even a First Gardener with the National Trust for Scotland.
For more information about studying at SRUC, visit: www.sruc.ac.uk/courses