Reece McNaughton

Reece is from Kelso and has had a passion for horticulture since learning about plant care from his grandmother. At school he won a best student prize and completed a Rural Skills Award before going on to Borders College to do Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) in Horticulture and in Parks, Garden and Green Spaces. He won the horticulture category at Lantra Scotland’s 2018 learner of the year awards.

"While I was still at school I was delighted to find that I could spend an afternoon a week at the Borders College doing crop production. I really enjoyed the experience, despite the challenges I was having at school, and then went on to study horticulture full-time.

My most recent employment was as a seasonal Gardener for the 26-acre Mertoun Estate Gardens, which has a walled garden, greenhouses, an arboretum, formal lawns and other ornamental planted areas in a working estate.

It gave me the chance to get paid seasonal work carrying a variety of horticultural jobs, including grass cutting, general maintenance, fruit and vegetable production and harvesting, forestry and arboretum-related tasks.

I’ve carried out a number of design and planting projects in the local community and gardens while at College and on work placement. I loved grafting my own apple tree then planting it out in the arboretum.

Working outdoors and seeing things through from start to finish gives me a real sense of accomplishment. By going to college, you can choose a course which matches your academic level whilst also gaining valuable experience. I met some really inspirational lecturers too.

I enjoyed the SVQs, as they had a good balance of practical sessions in a variety of locations and classroom time was limited. My advice would be to have a go, especially if you enjoy working outside and gardening as a hobby, and you might even turn it into a career."

Reece McNaughton horticulture