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Ash Walker & the Global Footprints Scholarship


  
Australian Garden Council
July 20, 2022

Ash Walker on Tour: an early review of his Global Footprints Scholarship

Ash working on an award-winning garden at the 2022 Chelsea Show, London

The Australian Garden Council is proud to hold relationships with many organisations excelling gardening and horticulture in all its forms, and the Global Footprints Scholarships program (previously the BBM Youth Support Awards) is one that stands out from the pack. The scholarships offer $8,000 grants to enable young Australians to go overseas and gain international work experience. Horticulture is one of the fields in which the scholarships are offered, allowing young people to gain access to gardens that are only a dream for some. We're proud to have a relationship with Ash Walker, who has been busy on the Gold-Medal winning team for Kate Gould's garden, 'Out of the Shadows', at the Chelsea Flower Show, as well as building his horticultural portfolio at the likes of Kew Gardens and NT Hidcote Manor. Ash gave us an insight to his journey which we are so happy to share here! 

How has it felt working amongst your peers in an international setting?

 

My Global Footprints Scholarship to come overseas to work in such amazing gardens and attend gardens shows, has offered be the opportunity to work with incredible people that have the same passion and love for the industry as I have. The knowledge and experience that the staff and people have is the one thing I want to tap into, so I can learn and gain more skills in the Horticultural industry, and take with me home and into the future.

 

Were there any key differences you immediately noticed that stood out from working in Oz? Or anything that was a surprise that you did not expect?

 

The one thing that I found that was different from Australia’s horticulture industry is the high standards that people hold themselves to. I've also noticed an incredible high quality of the plants as they go back to traditional ways of propagation within an innovative structure. When working at the Chelsea Flower show, staff demonstrated their passion by even cleaning individual leaves so that the plants were presented in their best light. The team were incredibly proud of the final piece. 

 

As the finishing touches were being put on Kate Gould's gold-medal winning garden, how did it feel stepping back and marveling at your work?

 

The look on our faces when we finished the project was a look of proudness, happiness and exhaustion! The long days, hard hours and all the blood, sweat and tears we put into this garden and to come away with not only a Gold Medal, but also Best Construction and Best in Category, certainty made it all worth it and showed the amount of passion we all have for the garden and the industry.

 

 

You are familiar with so many gardens on the East Coast of Australia. Can you find some similarities amongst the British Gardens you've seen?

 

There’s a lot of similarities between gardens here and back in Australia; they use the same plant selection, layout, plants and there are similarities in their operation. What is different is the quality and detail that the gardens in the UK go to. This maybe isn’t actually surprising, as the UK horticulture industry is 20-30 years ahead of Australia’s when it comes to technology and new innovative ideas that are more sustainable, which will always mean that your quality will be high then everyone else’s.

 

What's your favourite new plant discovery you've found on your journey thus far?

 

My new plant discovery is Gunnera manicata or 'giant rhubarb', we do have them in Australia, but I haven’t seen them to the size that they’re here in UK.

One plant that I thought that I wouldn’t see here is Agapanthus praecox, because back in Australia it is almost known as a weed in most places, and I was shocked that it was used in garden displays at the Chelsea Flower Show.

And finally, what garden has been your favourite so far, and what garden are you most looking forward to adventuring to? 

 

Since being overseas, I’ve already visited a few different gardens now and my favourite is RHS Wisley. The garden is 240 acres of land that covers massive range of garden styles and designs that is most renowned for the quality and detail in the gardens. I have a lot more gardens to explore, but ones that I’m most looking forward to is The Great Dixter House and Garden, Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Tresco Abbey Garden, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

 

 

 

Want to see where Ash is off to next (and drool at the gardens at the same time)? Follow him on Instagram, @ash_walker99

 

Keen to hear more about he Global Footprints Scholarships? Head to their website here.



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