The blossoming in gardening activities among those who have been ‘locked-down’ has led to a massive interest in the work of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Its website has been inundated with people looking for advice on how to make their gardens grow.
Alongside this has flowered an interest in careers in the great outdoors.
Shuttleworth College in the rural parkland of Old Warden, Bedfordshire is an RHS approved study centre where people can take courses to fit around existing jobs or family commitments.
Once qualified there are a range of jobs which can be pursued from gardener to garden centre employee, groundsmen and even tree surgeons.
Or you can simply become better a looking after an allotment or growing your own vegetables in the garden.
The advanced science aspects can lead to degree courses and work of international importance. Shuttleworth College has alumni all around the world working in horticulture and agriculture.
Paul Labous, RHS lecturer, has been at the forefront of traditional grafting techniques, being taught as advanced propagation methods, which have been used to extend the life of the Warden Pear, mentioned by Shakespeare, and the Cubbington Pear, threatened by the HS2 rail line.
Both stories have attracted national interest.
“We are expecting a boost in people applying for horticultural and other land-based study programmes after people’s experience of the lock down.
“They either want to know more about looking after their gardens, or realise the satisfaction of such employment or simply want to get outdoors!” said Paul.
Other courses on this beautiful campus are floristry, countryside management and fisheries.
Apprenticeships are also on offer in key fields.Visit www.shuttleworth.ac.uk for more information.