We’ve had some extra helping hands at Bodnant Garden this summer. Students have been spending some of their down-time with us to gain work experience – one of them from Snowdonia and two others from a little further afield near the Italian Dolomites.
Local lad GethinMullock-Jones has been assisting Charlie Stretton, our events and engagement officer, with the summer family events – and very welcome he’s been too (as you can see here, pictured with his own work of art.)
Gethin is a student at Ysgol y Creuddyn in Llandudno and volunteering at Bodnant Garden as part of his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.
He says: “I like volunteering here because I have met many great people. The staff and members of the public always greet you with a smile.
“I have been helping with pond dipping at the newer part of the gardens – the Skating Pond – every Tuesday as part of Grow Wild in August. I have enjoyed helping the children discover what interesting creatures there are here.
“I like the different opportunities I get here with the National Trust at Bodnant Garden, whether its pond dipping, Wild Art or even making little dragonflies!”
Gethin’s input has been a real boost, as Charlie says: “One aspect of our work here is growing fast, and that’s providing events and activities for families. We need more volunteers than ever to help with running pond dipping, craft and wild art sessions, taking children on nature walks, or showing them the bugs and beasties that live in the grasslands here.
“So we have been especially pleased to welcome Gethin to help out with our children’s activities. He’s proved a real asset to us, and shown maturity and initiative in working with families and children.”
We’ve also enjoyed the company of two Italian students helping us in the garden. Jacopo Pedol and Stefania Moro have joined the garden team for two weeks, coming all the way from the Veneto region, close to the Dolomites.
They’re both hoping to make careers in horticulture in the future and have been getting some work experience, as well as improving their English (and learning some Welsh). They’ve been a friendly and enthusiastic addition to the team and have enjoyed meeting staff, other volunteers and members of the public.
Charlie says: “We couldn’t do without volunteers here at Bodnant Garden, and it’s always a pleasure to welcome a new person who is willing to give up their own time to help us out.
“This could be meeting and greeting visitors in the car park, helping puzzled people to make sense of their map, guiding groups round the garden, or actually getting their hands dirty weeding, pruning and grass cutting.”
If you’re interested in gaining some work experience at Bodnant Garden or joining our team of regular volunteers we’d love to hear from you. Contact our property administrator Rose James.
Meanwhile, for all those budding gardeners…we’re also recruiting students for a placement at Bodnant Garden starting from September. As part of the Heritage Horticulture Skills Scheme there are 14-month and 4-month placements available at Bodnant and other top gardens in Wales. The deadline for applications is the end of August and you can find details at info@HHSS.co.uk
For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or catch up with us on Facebook or Twitter.