Suffolk New College in Ipswich is to be lit up in green this week in support of the National Gardening Week campaign.
Kate Rupp, head of apprenticeships at Suffolk New College, says “Gardening is like therapy and more people should do it.”
The national campaign, which aims to put gardening careers in the spotlight, takes place between 27th April and 3rd May.
The idea came about when the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) decided to encourage more people to take part in the healthy and productive outdoor activity of gardening eight years ago.
Mrs Rupp is keen to support the green-fingered movement. She said, “Since lockdown, the college has seen a rise in enquiries for those considering courses in horticulture. People have replaced going out with staying in. Enjoying the outdoors and the therapeutic side to gardening has really come to the fore.
“As a college, we have taught horticulture courses since 1970, so we are delighted to back this RHS movement that will hopefully inspire more people to enter an industry that is always in need of new recruits.”
One recent recruit is Kyle Mann who works for Perennial as an apprentice, spending his time looking after Fullers Mill Garden in West Stow, Suffolk. The 23-year-old from Bury St Edmunds studied construction then catering and spent two years in retail before the inspiration for a career outdoors came calling.
He said, “I’d love to be a botanist in the future, traveling around the world and finding out how and why rare plants grow. I think the campaign is great and I’d say to others that the world needs gardeners more than ever because of all the environmental changes that are happening.”
Across the border in Norfolk, Kyle Friend is doing the same. The 20-year-old from Sprowston near Norwich is also a big advocate of National Gardening Week.
Mr Friend works for Norfolk Raider Cider and said, “Being outside working in the orchard with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin just makes me happy. The mental health benefit of working outside has helped me overcome the stresses of modern life. I think others should get behind the campaign and consider gardening as a career. No matter how much civilisation gets built up and changes, you will always need gardeners.”