We recently agreed to take on a work experience candidate (who just happened to be Matt's daughter). However, despite this, everything was carried out officially and we ensured Katie was kept busy and given a range of tasks which were both informative and interesting.  One of the tasks was to type up a journal and this is her week with us in her own words...

My name is Katie Brill and for the past week I have been working at BrillGardens for my work experience. I’m in year 11 at waddesdon Church of England school and we are all out at work experience over the week.

What some would think was an early start, but a bit of a lie in for me; I was up at 8.00am and all ready for my days work by 9.00am. I got to work and started the day with some soil tests to help Matt with a client’s design. After the results came through it was out into the autumn air to start potting on. I started by removing all the grasses from the greenhouse to my work area. I potted up a good lot of grasses adding grit at the bottom, compost the grass the more compost, the grass, then more compost round the edges. I’ve never been a lover of mud and soil but it’s all part of the experience. After lunch it was out to a maintenance where I was taught how to prune roses I then helped matt by weeding the drive and clearing up the leaves he had raked into a pile. We were working for a couple of hours and then we went on to do some measuring up for Matt’s next hard landscaping job. After what felt like a long day it was all over. The end of Monday. It wasn’t too bad and I’d asked lots of questions on how to run a business because I wish to run my own photography business when I’m older.

Another 9 o’clock start on Tuesday which started with a Nitrogen soil test. This was a bit trickier so we had to repeat it a few times to get an average result. It was then on to potting on the rest of the plants in the green house! I did this all the way up to lunch which I then made myself a tasty wrap, yum! I was the assigned the task of designing and creating the new flyer. ‘Gulp’. I love to design things and it’s why I came to BrillGardens for work experience, for all the arty things, but this was a real task in a real life situation. Matt gave me his ideas that he wanted the flyer to look like and I got to work putting it together. I then presented it to Matt and he thought it was really good so I was pleased I had impressed. I then had to add words using my own ideas and the website for inspiration on what to write. The flyer went really well, Sarah then made the adjustments she needed to (which wasn’t a lot woo!) We then went on to do some more maintenance work. When we finished the hard labour it was the end of another long day! It wasn’t easy working everyday but I soon got home to catch up on all my programmes and face book.

Wednesday. The middle of the week; it was all going very fast. First I was assigned the job of doing the plant list. I thought this won’t take long but I was so wrong. Hundreds and hundreds of plants later we had drafts lists now we had to refine it to all the plants Matt wanted to use, thinking about the sun level and places in the garden they could go. I liked doing this because it was all involved in the presenting and design which would be part of my business too. After the second draft it was lunch. Then on to the cover of the flyer, which I was very proud of and so was Matt. He’d given me a sketch on paper and I’d made it on the computer just like his sketch was. We then went out to a printing company where Matt gave me some questions to ask them about printing the flyers. I asked them and reported back to Matt what they had told me. He kept it all in mind then we went to a Nursery to look at the different plants which were on our plant list. Matt taught me about how we lay out different plants with different leaf shapes which complement each other. We then headed back to BrillGardens and the day was up, I’d got experience on looking at what the customer wants and speaking to people asking those questions.

Thursday and I was up  and ready for 9 o’clock like always. My first job was to take a picture of tree’s which create a fastiagate effect. Matt wanted these photo’s as he was using this effect in his current design so he wanted to see what trees were being used by others, how big they grew etc. This will then help him when presenting his design. We then went on to the plant list where I had to find out what sunlight each shrub, perennial, bulb, grass, fern and climber liked which took a long time but it was quite interesting. I stopped for lunch but carried on after, typing it all up ready to give to the client with the design. Matt had talked me through the design and how you draw things which helped me picture the final garden a lot better. We then finished the day by planting up bulbs, shrubs and other small perennials ready for using if they take well to the soil. After all that the days was over and it was nearly the end of the whole experience.

Friday was the final day and I spent the day doing multiple different things the main one was the tax return. This was very helpful to know how to do this for future reference when I want to start my own business. Over the week I was able to learn lots of different features of running your own business. I am able to take a lot of great aspects away from this work experience such as designing, researching, dealing with customers, manual labour, dealing with money and tax returns. I would recommend anyone with children interested in gardening and designing and have their work experience approaching to consider BrillGardens as a choice because it is relaxed but also interesting, useful and tough; all the things to help build a successful business.