Ivor Benoy, from Flushing, has started a one-year practical placement at the world-renowned gardens. With a background in production horticulture, Ivor will use this opportunity to upgrade his skills through practical experience in Trewithen's gardens, as well as in the Nursery and the Plant Centre. Over the year, he will complete four projects, keep a horticultural diary and undertake Level 3 National Occupation Units standing him in good stead to achieve his goal of working in a heritage garden like Trewithen.

He said, "I feel really lucky to be working at one of the great historic gardens in Cornwall. Over the year I am going to learn so many new skills and identify hundreds of new plants. I am really looking forward to studying the many species brought here by the plant hunters and of course the magnificent collection of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias."

With no previous history of training at the gardens, Trewithen was initially refused by the scheme last year. Now, Head Gardener Gary Long has implemented RHS standard training for volunteers and, with the recent departure of Niall Wilcock who volunteered at Trewithen while completing his National Certificate in Horticulture, Trewithen has become one of four historic gardens in Cornwall to be part of the Historic and Botanic Garden Bursary Scheme.

"The partnership is a great way to give something back," said Gary. "I find the reactive nature of the process very helpful. Part of Ivor's placement is identifying 10 plants a week so it keeps me on my toes and with Ivor's help we'll be updating the plant database. Trewithen is a great learning environment and it's really fulfilling being able to pass on so much of the knowledge I have gained by working in this special place."

Trewithen would welcome anyone interested in taking a volunteer placement. For further information, please contact Gary Long on 01726 883647.