Gardener Joseph Heads for the Green Grass of Home
21 Feb 2011
Aberglasney’s new head gardener Joseph Atkin will be returning to his roots when he takes over the top job at the gardens.
Joseph, who has been lecturing at the prestigious Pershore College in Worcestershire, hails from Carmarthenshire – he grew up in Burry Port near Llanelli and was educated at Llandovery College during the 90s.
“I am looking forward to moving back to Wales and being close to my family and old friends again,” said Joseph. “Wales has a tremendous climate for gardening. You may not believe this but I have been simply praying for rain in some of the places I have worked.”
Joseph is no stranger to Aberglasney in Carmarthenshire. As a student he spent a 12-week placement here working alongside the then head horticulturalist, Graham Rankin.
He is a graduate of Pershore College where he left with a Bsc Hons in horticulture. The 33-year-old also studied for three years at the Royal Botonical Gardens at Kew where he obtained a diploma – arguably one of the foremost horticultural qualifications in the world.
“I have lovely memories of my time at Aberglasney,” said Joseph. “It was eight years ago so of course the garden has evolved tremendously since then. I vividly recall my excitement at seeing a Cardiocrinum giganteum (Giant Himalayan Lily) for the first time when I was there. It is the most magnificent lily which grows up to three metres in height and which has a very strong, sweet perfume.”
Joseph takes up his role as head gardener at the end of February. He replaces Aberglasney’s Graham Rankin who, along with his wife and fellow gardener Frances, left in December to take up a new challenge at a private garden in Surrey.
Joseph admits to a passion for rare plants and studying flora and fauna in the wild. He is also involved with the RHS floral trials committee and has lectured extensively to a diverse audience at home and abroad.
Among his many accolades, Joseph was short listed for the RHS Travel Bursary prize in 2004; awarded the best botanical report for the Alpine Garden Society in 2005 and is a published photographer in Curtis’s Botanical magazine.