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Prestigious prize helps Eden apprentice

by | 26 Sep 20 | Community, News


Eden horticulture apprentice Patricie Zeleznikova has won The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Horticulture for her outstanding work on a forest garden at the project.

During her two years at Eden, Patricie worked on the forest garden seen by around one million visitors a year as they wind their way towards the Visitor Centre.

Her apprenticeship finishes at the end of this month (September 2020) and she plans to donate the award prize towards a new forest garden in Cornwall which she and fellow Eden apprentice Liz Mortimer are planning to design together.

The award was made by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners in recognition of Patricie’s work in forest gardening, a sustainable approach to horticulture which makes use of the natural layering of plants found in forests, providing fruits, nuts and leafy vegetables.

The company praised her for adapting these principles to the particular climatic conditions in the UK and the specific constraints of the site assigned by the Eden Project to the apprentices.

It said that she demonstrated commitment to sustainable horticulture and developed her skills. Working as a team with other apprentices highlighted how horticultural practice can be developed in new ways.

Dr Heather Barrett-Mold OBE, Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, said in awarding the honour: “The award to Patricie is particularly pleasing, just the second time since the award was set up by Honorary Liveryman HRH Prince of Wales over 20 years ago that it has gone to a winner in Cornwall, the county he is so deeply associated with.

“I congratulate Patricie on her hard work and enthusiasm, and wish her well in her career in horticulture.”

Patricie was nominated for the award by Colin Skelly, Living Landscapes Educator in Eden’s Outdoor Gardens.  As part of the process she was interviewed by a panel about forest gardening.

Patricie said: “I was pleasantly surprised to win the award and it means a lot to me and my fellow apprentices Liz Mortimer, Tabitha Carpenter and Tom Starley. It is good recognition for the apprentice team. We all worked really hard on the Forest Garden and it was amazing to be nominated by Colin for this award.

“Liz and I are now starting our new adventure in horticulture, progressing to RHS Levels 3 and setting up our own business. We already have a commission to work on a forest garden and we are looking forward to putting into practice what we have learned. We will invest the prize into the new venture.”

Eden’s head of living landscapes Paul Stone said: “On behalf of the whole team we congratulate Patricie on this great honour, recognising her work and that of her fellow apprentices on the forest garden and at different areas around Eden.

“We wish her and Liz the very best with their new venture and thank them for all their good work at Eden.”

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