Volunteer case study - Karen Hickey

Volunteers Nicola, Linda, Karen with assistant gardener David Reynolds. © National Trust

Volunteers Nicola, Linda, Karen with assistant gardener David Reynolds.

Name:
Karen Hickey
Job:
Vegetable garden volunteer
Location:
Sissinghurst Castle

I started as a volunteer at Sissinghurst Castle after I saw an advertisement asking for help in creating a new organic vegetable garden.

Having studied at Hadlow College for my certificate in Horticulture, I thought volunteering would be an excellent way to improve my knowledge and to develop my growing skills at home.

With the help of volunteers, production in the castle garden increased from 3.3 to 6 tons in the first two years. The harvest was supplied to the busy visitor restaurant, straight from ‘Plot To Plate’. It doesn't get much fresher than that!

Another major project I was involved with was  the re-establishment of the castle orchard. Working closely with head vegetable gardener Amy Covey, volunteers planted in excess of 1,000 fruit trees including apples, pears and cherries.

The new orchard will provide a lasting memory for all of those involved and younger volunteers can  admire the results of the project in years to come.

The National Trust volunteers work tirelessly to protect and preserve properties of national importance and our countryside.It is fantastic to see people from all over the world enjoying our national heritage.

I'm so glad that I responded to the call for help. I've made new friends with an amazing group of people, I have learned a lot and I have been involved in some wonderful projects which will leave a great legacy.