For the four days from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th September the current PGG trainees, along with the current one year HBGBS students, and four students from the McRobert Trust in Aberdeenshire, all attended the annual trainee seminar held at Dunford House Conference Centre in Midhurst, West Sussex.

The long weekend is organised annually by the traineeship co-ordinator, and PGG President, John Humphris as a way to get all the trainees together in one place, as all are placed in different gardens around the country. It is also an excellent opportunity for the students to meet up and make new friends and contacts in the industry.

The seminar this year consisted of the familiar traineeship discussions and plant talks, given by each of the trainees; as well as question and answer sessions, and visits to local gardens and nurseries.

Tour of Arundel Castle

This year’s visits were to Arundel Castle, with a tour given by the head gardener, Martin Duncan, and Izzy McKinley who is responsible for the production garden there; Woolbeding Gardens in West Sussex, run by head gardener Paul Gallivan; and a visit to Liss Forest Nursery, with Peter Catt and Judy Medhurst, who kindly gave demonstrations on cuttings and grafting techniques.

Experts Panel

Sunday afternoon saw the annual ‘Experts Panel’ where students were encouraged to put questions to the panel of professional horticulturists, covering all aspects of horticulture; while botanist Ros Bennett gave lessons in botany and taxonomy.

The four days flew by and the students returned to their gardens, worn out but hopefully inspired, ready to return to work on the Monday. Many thanks to all who made this year’s seminar a success.

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