Sophie Walwin

Head Gardener

Sophie is Somerville’s Head Gardener.

Prior to joining Somerville, she was part of the horticultural team at Merton College and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where she graduated from the Kew Diploma in Botanical Horticulture with honours. Before Sophie enrolled on the Kew Diploma she worked as a horticulturist in the Temperate House at Kew, the World’s largest Victorian glasshouse, during its five year restoration. She was responsible for the propagation of the plant collection, moving the historic specimens to temporary growing facilities, and protecting the plants that remained in the glasshouse during the restoration works.

She is passionate about practising and promoting sustainable horticulture and designing a landscape that is future-proof – taking our changing climate into account when making plant choices whilst providing stimulating, inspiring and beautiful borders.

At Somerville Sophie is keen to ensure the gardens are accessible as possible, using blogs on the college website, explanatory chalkboards around the grounds, and even live Facebook broadcasts to help the Somerville community connect with and enjoy the grounds.

Sophie wrote a short article on the use of interpretation in gardens based on her final Kew Diploma dissertation, which she explored in this blog post:

Horticulture Explained: Interpretation of horticultural practice in UK public gardens

Publications

'Horticulture Explained: Interpretation of Horticultural Practice in UK Public Gardens'
2019
https://plantnetwork.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/22753/plantnetwork-article-final.pdf

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