WUC celebrates presentation day and garden opening

July 2019

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

On 26th June, Writtle University College enjoyed a double celebration. Students on the RHS Horticulture course received their certificates of achievement and attended the official opening of a garden they helped to create.

The presentation ceremony began with a short speech from lecturer Christine Lavelle, describing the learners’ hard work and their strong grasp of horticultural science. Julia Bolton, director of Beth Chatto’s Garden near Colchester, attended the ceremony as a special guest and presented each student with their RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture or the Principles of Horticulture.

Former student Sharon Worsell then explained how the skills she learnt at WUC contributed to the creation of her successful business.

The Mediterranean grand opening took place within the garden. This was the second time Julia, granddaughter of famous plantswoman Beth Chatto, had cut the ribbon. She previously opened the original section of the garden in 2017, before its expansion during the last three years.

Designed by lecturer Christine Lavelle, the newly developed space was inspired by Beth Chatto's gravel garden near Colchester, RHS Garden Hyde Hall near Chelmsford and the Cambridge Botanical Gardens.

Christine Lavelle said: "The RHS students have worked extremely hard on the construction of the Mediterranean Garden over the last four years. This hard work has culminated in the beautiful garden which provides a spectacular entrance to Writtle University College. I'm so proud of their efforts and look forward to seeing the garden mature."

The area has been enlarged over the last three years to cover both sides of WUC’s main entrance. It demonstrates ways in which plants can be grown successfully in dry conditions.

The opening took place on site, and was attended by students, their families, staff and guests of honour. Many of the students developed their skills in practical horticulture by contributing to the gardens’ development.

Christine Lavelle introduced the guests and thanked all those involved for their hard work. Robert Brett, Curator of RHS Garden Hyde Hall, gave a short speech before Julia Bolton declared the garden open.

Robert Brett said: “I think it’s absolutely amazing what Christine Lavell and the team have done here and through various RHS courses. The Mediterranean garden, or dry garden, is just an absolutely stunning setting on the entrance way. It’s a great accolade to everything that’s happening at Writtle.”

Julia Bolton commented: “I’m thrilled to have been invited. I think Christine Lavelle and Writtle are doing great work horticulturally with their students. The new gardens at the entrance make a huge impact.”

The Mediterranean Garden is the latest addition to Writtle University College’s landscaped grounds. The 220 hectare estate includes but is not limited to a rose garden, informal lawns, over 1,000 types of trees and multiple greenhouses.

For more information on the RHS courses available at WUC go to

Writtle University College Students on the RHS Horticulture course received their certificates