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Plantsmanship: Cecily Withall

Cecily Withall studied Horticulture with Plantsmanship at SRUC in Edinburgh.

Cecily had experienced working in horticulture in Italy as well as a work placement with a local historic walled garden. She knew there were aspects to horticulture she needed to focus on to develop skills and increase her knowledge and so searched for courses in the subject.

SRUC stood out for Cecily because of the link to The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. “It’s hard to believe the amount I have achieved in such a short time, from being able to understand the basics of mechanical composition and machinery as well as being able to confidently handle secateurs, loppers and hand tools to apply several different techniques to many plants. At the beginning of the year I was daunted, this course has been one of the most challenging things I have ever tackled, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it.”

“In the first year we were given an area within the gardens that was open to the public in which we had to design and plant from seed a small garden using techniques we were learning weekly. On the last day of term, we concluded the year with the evaluation and examination of our plots from two experts in the field. I remember standing there knowing that I was so proud; to be able to each design an area from scratch, seed and sweat was more than I could have ever imagined.  Everyone put their heart into the area and the plants grew because of it. The sense of pride and achievement was pretty magical.“

“In the first year of the Plantmanship course, you take part in work experience through the gardens at RBGE every week. You will work side by side with such inspirational horticulturists who are eager to engage and take you under their wing if you show an interest. Not every department will be the Horticulture that you wish to pursue for the rest of your career, but how would I have known without that experience? My passion for Arboriculture has been because of the team at  RBGE and the work experience from year 1. Because of this I pushed for further experience and with the links that RBGE hold across the world of Horticulture, I  was lucky enough to continue my experience at Kew Botanic Gardens in London in the summer.”

“If you are looking to really engage, learn, work harder than you thought possible and get stuck into the world of Horticulture then this is the course for you. It is challenging, mind blowing and scary but so worth it. The individuals on the course are like-minded passionate people and I hope you will be as lucky as I have  been to meet some truly special friends.”


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