Horsham school leaver blooming as gardening apprentice

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A former Forest School pupil has been taken on as an apprentice at a Nuthurst nursery as part of his Brinsbury College course.

Simon Discombe, 18, is the first apprentice Architectural Plants has taken on, and during his two-year course in Nursery Production he will be learning how to look after and propagate the exotic plants the nursery specialises in.

The site has one of the UK’s largest selections of topiary trees and bushes, palms, ferns and tropical plants. While working there, Simon will be taught how to create and maintain topiary shapes – including the unusual Japanese art of Niwaki – as well as all other aspects of horticulture.

He will spend one day a week during term time.

Simon said: “I am passionate about a career in horticulture and this is a fantastic opportunity to learn at one of the best nurseries.

“Architectural Plants grows an incredible range of very unusual plants and the staff are so knowledgeable and keen to teach me. I am loving working here and it has made me even more determined to pursue a career in horticulture.”

Architectural Plants was founded 22 years ago by Angus White when he could not find the plants he wanted for his garden – so decided to import them himself and start his own nursery.

It now provides a huge range of mature exotic and unusual plants for city and country gardens, stately homes and parks as well as for show gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Mr White sad: “I strongly believe that we should regard gardening and horticulture as a skilled and important job, which is why we have decided to take on an apprentice for the first time.

“We have had a great deal of help and support from Brinsbury College and are delighted that Simon is enjoying his work with us so much. He is a very hard worker and we are enjoying teaching him. We are also planning to take on more apprentices in the future.”

Architectural Plants in Nuthust is open to the public every day apart from Sunday.

The plants are displayed with a traffic light system to denote hardiness – and are also available to order from their website.

The nursery also offers garden design, planting, and maintenance, and sells a good range of specialist garden tools and books.