Julie Shaw, who grew up in Ochiltree, a village that borders Dumfries House, is one of the latest recruits to the 260-strong workforce on the East Ayrshire estate and will be tasked with maintaining The Queen Elizabeth Walled Garden and Arboretum, as well as the Kauffman Education Gardens, which welcomes thousands of school pupils as part of a range of education programmes.
“I was over the moon to be offered the chance to work at Dumfries House,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about horticulture, being outside, being with plants. When I heard about the job here, I had just finished my studies in Glasgow, and I graduated and was interviewed and offered the job all the space of five days.”
“My initial jobs have been in the walled garden, doing day-to-day maintenance, weeding and dead-heading, meeting with visitors and answering their questions,” explained Julie. “The visitors are so complimentary and that boosts your confidence and makes you feel appreciated for what you do.
“I'm going to be going around the other parts of the estate, such as the arboretum and education garden. I could not see myself ever working in an office; I have always worked in glasshouses and outside. It's not a job to me – it's my life.”