Naomi’s story

Naomi studied Garden Design (Levels 2 and 3) and plans to open her own garden design business.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, I discovered a newfound love for gardening and a desire to care for my garden properly. A friend’s infectious enthusiasm for the Seasonal Gardener course at Capel Manor College led me to follow her. Little did I know that this decision would mark the beginning of a transformative journey that would forever change my life. 

Choosing Capel Manor College was an easy decision. Located just half an hour from my home in Enfield, the College’s reputation for beautiful gardens, a sociable café, barns, and even ponies and donkeys on the grounds, made it an inviting and nurturing place, precisely what I needed after the challenges of the pandemic. 

I enrolled in the Seasonal Gardener course in May 2022, hoping to learn how to properly care for my own garden. The seven-week programme exceeded my expectations. The high-quality teaching and shared enthusiasm among my fellow students made it the highlight of my week – I thought of it as my “wellness day”. I loved wandering through the captivating gardens to our spacious classroom in front of the iconic clocktower. Learning how to cultivate the soil, grow seeds from scratch, and transform borders in the company of like-minded individuals fostered a sense of community and camaraderie. 

Emboldened by the success of my first course, I delved deeper into my passion for garden design by joining the Garden Design (Level 1) course, starting in September 2022. The 11-week programme taught me technical and artistic drawing skills, despite not having drawn anything since my GCSE Art days. The steep learning curve only fuelled my enthusiasm, and I relished practicing and witnessing my drawing skills improve. I loved reading up on designs and plant planning, immersing myself in the world of garden design. 

The environment at Capel Manor College nurtured growth and learning, regardless of age, career, or background. The sense of community led to lasting friendships, and our WhatsApp groups from each course kept us connected even beyond the classroom. I was elated to see my fellow students from both courses pursue further gardening-related studies or take up gardening as volunteers, like me. 

The College’s wonderful learning environment had a profound impact on my life. Encouraged by the exceptional tutors, well-stocked library, and supportive atmosphere, I felt inspired to take a leap of faith in my 50s and change careers. My love for gardening and design led me to envision becoming a garden designer within the next 18 months. 

Presently, I am training to become a garden designer, pursuing Level 2 and Level 3 in garden design at Capel Manor College. Volunteering as a gardener at a National Trust property in London helps me develop practical horticulture skills and enhance my plant knowledge, integral to my journey as a garden designer. 

My aspirations are clear—I plan to establish my own garden design business and help people fall in love with their green spaces, experiencing the joy of being closer to nature. 

Capel Manor College has undoubtedly transformed my life, offering an exciting new path in a healthy and supportive industry. I eagerly look forward to shaping my future business and encourage everyone considering their next step to explore the boundless opportunities that Capel Manor College has to offer. Whether you are interested in nature, gardening, or pursuing a career in the environmental industry, Capel Manor College will empower you with knowledge, foster new friendships, and provide a friendly and supportive environment. My success story is a testament to the transformative power of education and the limitless possibilities that await you at the College.”