Gabriel Ash were delighted to be invited to celebrate the graduation of students from the RHS School of Horticulture 2019. Who would not want to celebrate the students who “will hopefully help to make the world a healthier, happier, more sustainable and prosperous place”, as observed by Dr Suzanne Moss, Head of Education and learning for the RHS.
Gabriel Ash and the RHS have a long standing relationship. Gabriel Ash were one of the first RHS Licensed Partners and they are proud to have had a continuing relationship with the RHS since gaining the first Licence agreement back in 2005. Gabriel Ash are proud to be the only Timber Greenhouse manufacturer to be endorsed by the RHS. This has always been more than simply a logo to display on our web site and literature, we have always tried to see it as a partnership and try to get involved in any way we can to help the RHS encourage growth and development in horticulture.
We have many of our greenhouses at the various RHS Gardens across the country, but our strongest relationship has to be with the RHS’s flagship garden at RHS Wisley. Two years ago Gabriel Ash were approached by Sheila Das (Garden Manager at RHS Garden Wisley), with her vision sketched out on a piece of paper for the new allotment gardens at RHS Wisley. This area was to host a number of projects that use edible growing to build the skills of professional and amateur gardeners, as well as providing a showcase for visitors to the gardens to enjoy. (see the full article here).
This was our first visit back to the site since the opening event back in April 2018. The allotments and greenhouses back then were all very bare and new. This visit saw how much both the site and the students have developed. The produce on display was exceptional an absolute credit to both the students and teaching staff alike.
The Graduation and Awards event this year took place in the stunning Glasshouse at RHS Wisley, the perfect setting for a such a prestigious occasion. The most noticeable thing right from the start was how all the teams from the gardens were there alongside all the invited guests, students and parents. Everyone was so supportive of each other and they all delighted in everyones achievements.
The event was opened with a welcome by Dr Suzanne Moss. This was followed by an introduction to the School of Horticulture Graduation by David Perry, Garden Manager at RHS Rosemoor. The awards followed, with some of the students showing signs of a great future in the industry collecting several individual awards.
The guest speaker for the awards ceremony is chosen by the graduating students and this year they chose Matthew Pottage, Curator at RHS Garden Wisley. His speech contained memories of his own graduation back in 2006 and some stories of his time at Wisley, including stories of his own antics during college life that I am sure in his current position he would not encourage to be repeated! The most memorable part of his speech was not however about the horticultural skills the students have developed during their education, but a reminder of the interpersonal skills the team at the RHS have tried to develop. Some of his key call outs for the students to take with them into their future careers were:-
- Be nice
- Get things done and be the one who gets things done
- Be the person with the positive solution
- Many people look but don’t see. Be the person who notices everything, be observant
- Stay fresh and enthusiastic
More awards for the top students followed which were presented by Sue Biggs, RHS Director General. This was followed by a presentation from Claire Squires (one of the graduating students) in which she thanked all the staff on behalf of all the graduating Level 4 students. Her speech and summary of her time as a student left some of the audience with tears in their eyes.
The event was then brought to a close and guests and students alike enjoyed refreshments in the Glasshouse gallery.
Following the awards we took the opportunity to look at our greenhouses in both the allotment area and the edibles garden and Sarah Monahan, Gabriel Ash’s Sales and Marketing manager, commented that she does not think our greenhouses could be better displayed than in such wonderful gardens. We have truly seen the gardens and greenhouses in their optimum setting with all the vegetables and produce literally days away from harvest.
The allotment area was the first stop and the large Grand Grow and Storegreenhouse which is a shed/greenhouse combined building, is ageing beautifully to a silver grey patina. The extended Classic Greenhouse is packed with both growing crops and produce that has been harvested and drying ready for storage. Both of these greenhouses are currently dwarfed by the 24 plots containing all the students bulging crops. This shows how much hard work and dedication has gone into their studies over the last few months.
The next stop was the Edibles garden, this garden is a showcase of ‘grow your own’ excellence. The large beds were packed with perfectly grown edible plants, too many varieties to mention. Gabriel Ash are proud to have two of our greenhouses in this stunning setting. The first is a Classic 8x10 which was home to a large crop of cucumbers. The other greenhouse on show is our RHS Wisley, well it had to be didn’t it! This was home to a gorgeous collection of peppers and chillies.
Congratulations to all the students who graduated this year and I am sure we will be hearing more about you all in the years to come.