Englefield Estate gardener Ryan Colbourne was one of three gardeners to be included in the Express newspaper’s weekend feature on the rising trend of millennial gardeners.
The feature, published on Saturday, April 21st, under the headline ‘Meet the Kings and Queens of Spades’, explained that there has been a sharp increase over the last few years in the number of 16 – 18-year-olds embarking on horticultural college courses. They also reported that that the biggest increase in the purchasing of gardening equipment has occurred among consumers in the 25 – 34 age bracket.
The report concludes that one reason for the rise in the trend, “usually associated with older folk”, could be a disenchantment with conventional careers and the desire to do something more meaningful.
At 23, Ryan is the youngest recruit to join the Estate’s gardening team, having previously worked for a domestic gardening services firm.
He told the Express: “I’m one of a team of six gardeners led by the estate’s head gardener Sue Broughton and I’m the youngest by at least two decades. I’ve been here for about a year having responded to a job ad that was flagged-up by a relative and it is my dream job.
“I had always wanted an outdoor, physical job because I can’t really sit still. And as I’m working in an environment that changes with the seasons the stuff you are doing day to day changes too.
“I particularly like working on the really formal areas of the garden, such as the topiary, pyramid yews and box borders. I love doing finishing touches and bringing them up to the highest standard.
“I was 18 when I started out in horticulture with an apprenticeship straight after school. Back then I was the only one of my friends going into gardening but more and more of them are getting into it because I have been so enthusiastic. One works in the gardens at a private school and another at an organic vegetable nursery in Eastbourne.
“Horticulture keeps you fit and being outside is also good for your mental health. I rarely leave work feeling stressed or tense about anything.
“School tends to push you into better paid office work but increasingly people are realising that there is more to life than money. Happiness is much more important.
“My goal is to be head gardener here one day. That’s the career path that I am aiming for.”
Our gardens are open to visitors every Monday throughout the year from 10.00am – 6.00pm April to October and 10.00am – 4.00pm November to March. The entrance fee is £5.00 but is free for children. Find out more here.