Star botanist gives speech to Lackham students

This Is Wiltshire: Pictured from left are Carl Gill, curriculum manager for horticulture, James Wong and Lackham head gardener Stan Rawlings Pictured from left are Carl Gill, curriculum manager for horticulture, James Wong and Lackham head gardener Stan Rawlings

MORE than 100 people were inspired by botanist and BBC presenter James Wong when he spoke at Wiltshire College last Thursday.

The host of the gardening series Grow Your Own Drugs spoke to horticultural students in Lackham, the only place in Wiltshire he is visiting in a national tour.

He was shown round the facilities and presented with a giant lemon.

Lackham once held the record for the largest lemon in the world, weighing in at more than 10lbs.

Carl Gill, curriculum manager, said: “The talk was inspiring, highlighting the global nature of horticulture, its technological advances and innovations.

“For example, he explained that NASA is looking at being able to produce food in space stations in order that mankind can further explore the stars as well as the use of exotic roof gardens in London and Singapore.

“He is a real enthusiast for his profession, with a desire to spread the word that horticulture is a rewarding profession with opportunities for young people and those seeking a career change.”

Mr Wong said it was wonderful to meet students with more excitement and ambition for the world of plants than he had at their age.

He said some people thought that horticulture is an industry of “outdoor tidying up” and a career in it is the “exclusive realm of school drop outs”.

He said: “In reality horticulture is the key to solving the global problems of the 21st century such as climate change, biofuels, feeding an exploding population and stemming biodiversity loss.”

He said the college’s giant lemon (citrus medica) was a true “horticultural miracle.”

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