Horticulture NC

Campus: SRUC Oatridge, West Lothian
Class of 2020

"A goal without a plan is just wishful thinking, we can all shoot for the stars, can’t we?"

After a high-flying career as a press photographer – which saw her hanging out of helicopters and climbing church bell towers to get the perfect image – Horticulture student Julie Bull is now very much grounded in her gardening business.

As a photographer she spent 30 years photographing all walks of life, from street children in Guatemala and Oxfam’s aid work during the genocide in Rwanda to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Hogmanay concerts and fireworks.

Following on from this career, she worked as a Police Scotland call handler, receiving 101 and 999 calls.

“I have always enjoyed gardening,” said Julie, 50, from Midlothian. “I would watch the contract gardener through the bombproof windows at Police Scotland and on a good day I could just about inhale the smell of the freshly cut grass. That’s when I decided to take the plunge to become a full time Horticulture student and purchased my first secondhand lawnmower from Gumtree.”

After completing an SVQ Level 2 course in Amenity Horticulture, she progressed on to the NC Horticulture course at SRUC’s Oatridge campus.

While it’s a far cry from the days of photographing Nelson Mandela, royalty, and being blessed by the Dalai Lama, the four years since she set up her gardening business Flower Power have flown by.

She provides a personalised gardening service, either as a lone gardener or as a companion gardener working alongside clients at their pace.

After finishing her course, she plans to continue to expand her practical gardening knowledge, before contemplating returning for the HNC course at a later date.

In the future, she would love to have enough knowledge and confidence to become a Community Garden Coordinator, working alongside volunteers, or even a First Gardener with the National Trust for Scotland.

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