Over 21 years ago, school leaver Luke Hazelton was offered the opportunity of working at Trewithen Gardens, Grampound, as part of the government’s Youth Training Scheme (YTS). It was an experience that inspired a career and this month Luke celebrates 15 years service in the celebrated estate’s nursery – 11 of those as its manager.

“Being offered a YTS position at Trewithen was a pivotal moment in my life,” Luke explained. “During that two and a half years I completed NVQ 1 and 2 in Amenity Horticulture studying part time at Rosewarne College and I discovered a passion for horticulture that has only grown.”

Once he’d completed his YTS Luke chose to attend Rosewarne College full time for a year during which he achieved a National Certificate in Horticulture. From college he took the position of under gardener at Tregothnan.

At the end of 1999 then Head Gardener at Trewithen, Mike Taylor – who had supervised Luke’sYTS – invited him to apply for the position of assistant nursery manager. Luke was successful and spent the next three years being prepared, by Mike, to take over as manager of the nursery, which he did when Mike retired in 2003.

“I started my career as a gardener but the nursery still gives me a buzz. I get a real sense of pride in producing top quality plants and cuttings to sell on, although it’s definitely a joint effort – we are a great team with a wide range of skills.”

Since taking over as manager, Luke has made several changes to the nursery, which now has 11 poly tunnels, three glass greenhouses, a canopy area, dedicated potting shed, some sophisticated machinery and a team of five to nurture the hundreds of plant varieties, many propagated from iconic specimens in the main garden.

Those plants are sold retail and wholesale – often being chosen for substantial landscape projects throughout Cornwall and beyond.

The nursery is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 8am to 4pm from February to November and Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm during December and January. Full details of opening times and plants for sale are available on the website www.trewithengardens.co.uk.