Gardener lands her dream job
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.