Gar­dener lands her dream job

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ERIN TASKER

As a gar­dener, to work in a gar­den of in­ter­na­tional sig­nif­i­cance is a dream, and it’s a dream that Jane Ash­worth is now liv­ing.

Ash­worth is the new gar­den man­ager at Trotts Gar­dens in Ash­bur­ton, a place she’d long ad­mired. But it wasn’t un­til the prop­erty’s founders Alan and Cather­ine Trott moved on and the Trotts Gar­den Char­i­ta­ble Trust took over, that the dream of work­ing there be­came a re­al­ity.

‘‘I ac­tu­ally ap­proached Alan two years ago when I re­turned to New Zealand per­ma­nently (from the UK) and asked if there were any jobs go­ing and there weren’t, so I left it for two years then rang him in Au­gust this year and said ‘you might re­mem­ber me’.’’

He told her to get back to him in Septem­ber, and when she did, he told her what he hadn’t been able to tell her the month be­fore. The Trotts were mov­ing on and he’d passed her CV on to the new own­ers, the char­i­ta­ble trust.

Just a few short weeks later, Ash­worth and her hus­band – who she mar­ried just four weeks prior to mov­ing to Ash­bur­ton – were set­tling in to the Race­course Road prop­erty.

She may still be learn­ing her way around, but she knows what’s what. She knows that the Red Gar­den – de­signed by Trott and Sir Miles War­ren – is one of the more re­cent ad­di­tions to the gar­dens, and was what took Trotts from be­ing a gar­den of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance, to a gar­den of in­ter­na­tional sig­nif­i­cance. And she loves the in­tri­cate knot gar­dens – an art that dates back to the 14th Cen­tury in the UK – at Trotts, which are con­sid­ered some of the most elab­o­rate in the world.

Af­ter de­cid­ing she needed a change in ca­reer, af­ter years of work­ing for the English equiv­a­lent of the New Zealand His­toric Places Trust, Ash­worth turned to her pas­sion for gar­dens. Now, with a Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety qual­i­fi­ca­tion in hor­ti­cul­ture be­hind her and ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning her own small gar­den de­sign and main­te­nance busi­ness, Ash­worth knows what she’s talk­ing about.

‘‘This was like a dream, to live on-site in par­adise, as peo­ple re­fer to this,’’ she said.

She’ll have help main­tain­ing the gar­den at Trotts, thanks to a num­ber of vol­un­teers who have put up their hands to help – in­clud­ing those who have of­fered to share the six-hour job of lawn­mow­ing – and Ash­worth said she was look­ing for­ward to work­ing with them all.


Jane Ash­worth has long ad­mired the knot gar­dens at Trotts Gar­dens.

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