Wednesday 25 November 2015

Highgrove gardens

Earlier this year, Julia Lock – a Moulton College Lecturer and University of Northampton PhD student – was shortlisted for The Prince of Wales Perpetual Challenge Trophy, a competition run annually by The Worshipful Company of Gardeners. The national competition was open to all present and future horticulturalists. Despite not going further in the competition, Julia was sincerely honoured to be shortlisted and able to share her enthusiasm for sustainable horticulture and her research.

In October, all of the nominees were invited to tour Highgrove, the organic garden of The Prince of Wales, a tour kindly arranged by Dr Heather Barrett-Mold of the Institution of Environmental Sciences. The tour was led by Debs Goodenough (head gardener to HRH) who displays a passion and exuberance for Highgrove and everything that is achieved within the grounds. Also accompanying the group was Bob Sherman, former Chief Horticultural Officer for Garden Organic, who shared his delight for watching Highgrove develop into what it is today.

Julia commented:  “Every area was a feast for the eyes, with so many colours and organic forms! Each section of the grounds has its own identity and it is often common place to see that things don’t go to waste. There are so many intricate details that have been added during the development of the garden. One of my favourite areas was the stumpery where roots of trees become naturally sculptured pieces of art in themselves. All in all it was a pleasure to spend a morning with Debs and Bob”.

Julia strongly believes in the promotion of a natural system whereby inputs, such as chemicals, are limited and positive outputs, such as biomass and yield, are maximised. She is undertaking a PhD in Plant Pathology under the supervision of the University of Northampton’s Professor Carol Phillips, and Moulton’s Dr James Littlemore and Dr Russell Sharp. Her research looks into the integration of organic matter as a soil amendment in order to create better growing conditions for Rowans. Julia recommends that horticulturists should highlight their work by applying to The Prince of Wales Perpetual Challenge Trophy. She added: “There are so many good examples of horticultural practice that need to be shared and talked about so that we can make a unified movement forward.”

For information regarding research degrees at the University of Northampton, click here.

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