Vida, who won a Student Scholarship of £1,000 while studying for a BSC in Evolutionary Biology at the University of St Andrews, shares her news since receiving the scholarship…

“My horticultural internship at Logan Botanic Garden, made possible by the generosity of the David Colegrave Foundation, has been instrumental in increasing my horticultural skill and qualification as well as my aspirations for the future. Logan has an unusual and important collection of mostly southern hemisphere plants, and as such I have been been introduced to the care, identification, and conservation of many families and species which I have had little to no experience with previously. Logan is a perfect garden for enhancing my knowledge of the interplay between botany and horticulture; my time here has solidified my aspiration to explore these interactions and gain experience in both fields.

I have especially gained an interest in Australasian plants such as dicksonia, callistemon, eucalyptus, and cordyline, as well as their use and value in ornamental bedding. As such, I have decided to pursue a year abroad in Australia as part of my evolutionary biology degree. Thanks to the David Colegrave Foundation, I will be able to enhance my scientific education abroad with horticultural education – I plan to apply for horticultural internships while in Australia in order to
increase my knowledge of the native flora, its applications in ornamental horticulture, and conservation horticulture methods.
During my time at Logan I learned about choosing the proper growing media in order to meet a plants’, as well as a growers’, needs. I think this is a highly interesting and important subject which could benefit from both horticultural as well as scientific training. As such, I plan on continuing with second year modules in earth science at my university in order to learn more about the diversity of soil and ultimately rock types which plants depend on. Another interdisciplinary topic which I have gained an interest in is propagation. At Logan I was not only taught about propagation by cutting, seed, spores, and division but also about the conditions which must be met in order to propagate specific species by these means, and how this relates to their ecology and evolution.
I plan to spend a good deal of time during the remainder of my summer holiday exploring the native habitats of several groups of plants which are of significance in ornamental horticulture and which I learned about at Logan. For instance, I will be searching for terrestrial orchids in Sweden and tropical epiphytic bromeliads in Florida. I hope to complement my knowledge of how these plants are cared for in cultivation with insight into their preferred conditions in situ. I will also continue to work with my photography blog which focuses on horticulture and botany.
Ultimately, my internship, and consequently the David Colegrave Foundation, gave me the horticultural jumpstart I needed in order to pursue an interdisciplinary education, combining plant science and horticulture in order to fully understand how to grow plants. Working at a botanic garden has opened my eyes to the immense value of ornamental horticulture for a variety of reasons – including conservation, education, and commercial value. With the foundations’ support, I will continue to seek opportunities to advance my horticultural training throughout and beyond my time at university. I plan on applying for further horticultural internships for next summer and hope to become more involved with my local botanic garden in
order to achieve this.”