What is a WRAG I hear you ask? Well I’m a WRAG and in fact anyone can become one should they wake up one bright and sunny morning and find they have the inclination to pack in their work and retrain as a gardener. I know that is fairly unlikely but if you have been considering taking a different career path it is a wonderful scheme which allows people to work and retrain as a gardener and provides hands on gardening experience under the guidance of a knowledgeable garden owner or head gardener.
The scheme is administered through WFGA throughout England, Wales and parts of Scotland and Regional Managers set up garden placements for would be gardeners. The trainee then works for 15 hours per week for a whole year enabling them to pick up and learn the gardening tasks required throughout the different seasons.
My placement started in the depths of winter at Stillingfleet Lodge, which is a wonderful garden near the city of York. The garden is made up of a series of garden rooms and is managed by Vanessa Cook, the garden owner, as organically as possible to encourage wildlife.
As the garden is open from April there is much to do to get it in ship shape for when the first visitors beat a path to the door. So my tasks to date have included rose pruning, seed sowing, preparation of the vegetable bed, turning the compost heap and the list goes on!
Vanessa also runs courses and last week gave instruction on how to prune apples which not only meant I got to help prune the trees in her garden but it allowed me to have the confidence to tackle some wayward specimens I have at home.
I can’t wait for the Spring to really arrive, I’m sure I’m going to love it!