Horticultural Technicians like Sally grow and take care of plants in places when they are used for research or education, like universities, agricultural companies and research institutes.
Day-to-day, Sally could be doing things like preparing soil, monitoring and examining plants, providing advice on growing conditions, testing different growing techniques, controlling plant diseases, to name just a few!
Sally always wanted to work with plants, so she got started straight after leaving school. Today, in the Cambridge University Botanical Garden, she specialises in growing specimens for the University’s experiments.
While she is helping with the research, she gets to learn more about the cutting edge of plant science from some of the most respected figures in the field. “Sometimes I take part in projects that change the world – I don’t think there can be anything more rewarding!”
Now, Sally is also looking after several plant collections of her own, including varieties of lavender, rosemary and other British wild plants. It helps that she is basically a walking encyclopaedia of plant knowledge.
“What I love most is the variety of plants I cultivate,” she says. “From a glasshouse full of rice and tomatoes to high-alpine plants to unusual succulents, along with interesting requests from around the world. Some varieties that I grow have never even been cultivated before!”
Sally's career pathway
- 2009 Left school after her A-levels
- 2011 Completed a National Diploma in Horticulture and began working for the National Trust in Northern Ireland
- 2012 Began working at Threave Gardens, Scottish Borders – gained a Practical Certificate in Heritage Horticulture
- 2016 Began working as a Horticultural Technician at the University of Cambridge’s Botanical Gardens