An indepth interview with Michael Marriott, David Austin Roses

By Michael Marriott

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Michael Marriott teaches The Wonderful World of Roses at MyGardenSchool. Having joined David Austin Roses in 1985, Michael has over 25 years of experience of all types of roses from the original wild roses, the Old Roses, the modern roses and of course David Austin’s English Roses. He is a great believer in the basic, common sense principles of gardening and extends this to growing roses. He travels widely around the world and so has experience of roses in a very wide range of different climates. During his time at David Austin Roses he has designed many prestigious, private and public rose gardens around the world.


Q. What qualifications route did you take to realise your career?

I have a degree in Agricultural Botany although my main qualification is a life time of gardening


Q. Please explain in detail what students will learn during your course

They will learn about the great range of roses, how to use them in the garden and how to look after them. The course will also cover the amazing range of fragrances to be found in roses, some tips on how to design rose garden and how new varieties of roses are developed and introduced


Q. What’s the first thing you teach your students?

How amazingly variable, versatile and valuable roses are. There is no other plant that potentially can have beautiful flowers, a wonderful fragrance, can repeat flower and be easy to look after.


Q. What qualities do you need to succeed in your industry?

Enthusiasm for the subject.


Q. What are the benefits of studying your subject?

Being able to walk amongst roses on a regular basis, admiring their beauty and appreciating their delicious fragrances. Also the chance to travel the world talking to people who share my passion all of whom are, of course, lovely people!


Q. Please explain why you love your subject

Because they are such valuable plants – see above. The fragrance of roses has the ability to lift the spirits but at the same time calm you down. It is addictive in a most delightful way.


Q. What skills do your students have by the end of the course?

The knowledge that there is a huge range of very different roses available, that they can be very easy to look after and that they can be incorporated in almost any part of the garden and almost every climate of the world.


Q. What do students normally do once they’ve finished their course?

Hopefully plant a lot more roses in their own or other people’s gardens!


Q. What’s the best way to go about getting a job in your industry?

Having a real love of plants and gardens but at the same time being aware that horticulture can be very hard work and you have to battle with nature


Q. Can you describe a typical day in your working life?

Extremely variable! During the summer I am very busy with visitors to the nursery and working with our photographer taking pictures of roses in gardens and of our new introductions. Later in the summer I will travel to the States to visit the various trial sites. During the winter I spend a fair amount of time designing rose gardens around the world. Then there is of course the various shows that include Chelsea and Hampton Court in the UK, Courson in France and Seibu Dome in Japan.


Q. What advice do you have for people interested in studying a course like yours?

Take full advantage of it. Whether it is done professionally or on an amateur basis gardening and horticulture can be very hard work but it is also invariably wonderfully rewarding


Michael Marriott

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