The award-winning gardener and landscape designer, who scooped a silver gilt award at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show in London, has signed on as a teacher at a soon-to-be-opened gardening school.
Daltons School of Gardening will provide free hands-on classes to gardeners of all levels, from the complete novice to the experienced.
When Xanthe was asked to share her love and knowledge of the green stuff with others at the new gardening school, she didn’t hesitate to accept.
“It’s quite a nice thing to be doing, hanging out with other gardeners and passing things on,” she says.
“It’s totally positive. Nothing beats knowing you’ve helped someone find that real pleasure of knowing they can actually grow plants.”
The school, which is based in Mount Wellington, officially opens on September 24 and the first class will show students how to grow from seed.
“Rather than just me talking, people need to get a sense of actually doing things and understanding the process,” says Xanthe.
“It’s a practical thing. It’s not a ‘talk about it’, it’s a ‘do it’. We’re putting together some nice work benches with little kits so people can have a go at doing things. It really is that practical side of growing.”
Topics to be covered in the monthly gardening classes include the importance of soil and pest prevention.
“You’ve got to get into it,” says Xanthe. “There are lots of little tricks on how to keep them [pests] away and then how to get rid of them when you get them.
“We’ll try to get that in early so people get used to vigilance.”
As the weeks go by, the mum-of-two says the classes will become more challenging, which will help students grow their skill sets and gain the confidence to create their own little Eden.
“We thought we would start with seeds because it’s the right time of year. But even when you know lots, it’s actually really good to go back over those things and remember because you get a bit lazy.”
Teaching is a “totally new” adventure for Xanthe, who is looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing novice gardeners find their feet.
“As we go on, we’ll be looking at things like cuttings and how to espalier. We’re starting with the really basic stuff, but then getting into more interesting techniques. As we’ve set it up, we will start to see what people are really interested in.”
The 35-year-old’s beautifully laid out entry in the Chelsea Flower Show took a “massive effort” to complete, but her biggest reward was seeing it all come together.
“The medal side of it was pretty cool, but it’s actually more the experience of working in that different field that’s awesome, and with other designers and being part of the community.
“I’ve always felt that the low maintenance garden defeats the whole point of what gardening is all about, which is it’s actually enjoyable to do. You make things grow and it’s relaxing and satisfying.”
• Daltons School of Gardening is at Daltons Landscape yard on 1 Morrin Road, Mount Wellington. Classes are held on the last Saturday of every month from 2-4pm.