Aberglasney’s Student Bursary winner replaces the noise of music festivals for the tranquillity of the gardens

Aberglasney’s 2022 Student Bursary winner, Jacky Hall, has replaced the noise of working at music festivals for the tranquillity of learning all about gardening. Jacky has recently started the 12-month funded training opportunity at the Gardens in Carmarthenshire where she is enjoying learning new gardening techniques in the peaceful surroundings.

Jacky grew up in south Shropshire but has spent the past decade living and working in Manchester. She studied English Literature and Music at the University of Sheffield which led her to working in the arts and charity sector, often in events, in particular music festivals including Glastonbury. One summer she worked at eight different music festivals!

Jacky said, “A few years ago I felt ready for a career change. When I worked at the music festivals I would be living in a tent on site at each one. Although I loved working in events I was ready to stay in one place rather than constantly moving around. Gardening has always been part of my life and as a child I had to earn my pocket money by helping my parents in their garden.”

In 2019 Jacky began volunteering one day a week in the garden at Ordsall Hall, a Tudor mansion in Salford. The gardens there are small but a beautiful green space for the local community in an otherwise very urban area. The Head Gardener encouraged her to apply for the Heritage Historic and Botanic Garden Training Programme (HBGTP) scheme and she was successfully offered a full-time placement at Ness Botanic Gardens in Cheshire for a year from September 2021.

Aberglasney’s Director of Operations Jim Stribling said, “We are pleased that Jacky applied for our student bursary and will be with us for the next 12 months. She has fitted in well with the gardening team already. Our training covers a wide range of subjects including garden maintenance, machinery and health & safety. Since our gardens are ever evolving, we are often able to provide students with unique and valuable opportunities to participate in significant landscape projects. With our new Head Gardener recently starting at Aberglasney I’m sure Jacky will thrive under his instruction and enjoy playing a part in making his new ideas come to fruition in the Gardens.”

The Bursary at Aberglasney is a 12-month funded training opportunity to work and learn about the historic and diverse gardens. Students gain hands-on experience with the professional gardening team. Jacky will be trained in all common UK garden tasks as well as more specialist subjects including specialist bulb planting and a variety of propagation methods.

When asked why she applied to come to learn at Aberglasney Jacky said, “Aberglasney really appealed to me because of the mixture of formal and informal areas, plus the walled kitchen garden means I’m in my element. I’m thrilled to be joining the team and to finesse my horticulture skills as I continue to develop my career in the industry. Leaving Ness was sad but I wanted more time to learn skills and techniques outside of a botanic garden.”

Outside of gardening Jacky loves to be outdoors hiking, running or cycling. She is looking forward to spending her free time exploring the Pembrokeshire coast and Black Mountains.