Gardening opportunity buds in US

United States-bound Pippa Lucas at work at Chatsford Retirement Village, in Mosgiel. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
United States-bound Pippa Lucas at work at Chatsford Retirement Village, in Mosgiel. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A Mosgiel gardener is pulling roots for an adventure in the United States.

Dunedin Botanic Garden amenity horticulture graduate Pippa Lucas has won a nine-month placement at Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

''I'm very excited. I've been passionate about plants and horticulture since I was a kid. I grew up on a farm in Patearoa,'' Miss Lucas (22), who works full-time at Chatsford Retirement Village, said.

''I found out about the international internship in June, when I got an email in the middle of the night on my cellphone. I didn't sleep for the rest of the night.''

The internship includes free accommodation, and Miss Lucas expected it would be a steep learning curve.

''I don't think the plants will be much different to here, but they do things on a much bigger scale over there.

"They have a lot of events and the garden is more than 1000 acres [404ha].''

Dunedin Botanic Garden collections supervisor Barbara Wheeler said Dunedin had a long tradition of training horticulturists.

''The garden has had an apprenticeship going since the late 1800s.

"We currently have nine apprentices doing a three-year course.

"It's pretty full-on, because it's a 40-hour week and part-time study,'' she said.

Apprentices learned every aspect of gardening, from pruning, mulching and managing the plant collection, to record-keeping and garden design.

''It's always been popular. It's based outside, which a lot of people like, and you get stuck in and get your hands dirty. It's also very creative.''

Miss Lucas leaves on August 28.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Wallis's NurseriesGardening
Sword Productions LtdCromwellVideo Production
Eurotech WinDoorsDunedinDoors & Door Fittings
Trenz Outdoors CentreAlexandraRecreational Activities