Vive la difference with Burwash Weald

French exchange landscape students, Frogheath Landscapes, Burwash Weald. Clement and Mathieu
French exchange landscape students, Frogheath Landscapes, Burwash Weald. Clement and Mathieu

Differences and similarities between gardening in England and Central France were the source of fascination for students on a 10-week placement with a Burwash Weald company.

Clement Bigot, 19, and Mathieu Raynoird, 20, from Clermont Ferrand, are both horticultural and landscape students from the Louis Pasteur University who have spent the summer with Frogheath Landscapes in Willingford Lane.

Clement said: “We have worked on many gardens and have experienced may different aspects of the work. We have particularly enjoyed planting, creating paths, laying crazy paving and pointing the joints, building brick borders and fencing. We have not enjoyed so much the local soil, which is mainly clay and very hard work to dig!”

Matthieu said the pair have visited orchid nurseries, Hampton Court Flower Show, National Trust properties Bateman’s, Sheffield Park and Sissinghurst – all of which have beautiful gardens. They also visited Emmetts Garden and Riverhill Himalayan Garden near Sevenoaks and took time off to visit Eastbourne, Brighton and Lewes.

Both enjoyed what they described as ‘the warm hospitality and the British breakfast’ saying the landscape is beautiful with many more hedges, mixed flower and shrub borders than in France.

Sarah White, from Frogheath, said: “Frogheath Landscapes from Burwash Weald has a long history of providing work placements for students from the Louise Pasteur University in France. Those who come not only learn practical skills but experience a new country and improve their English. The students are hard working and have a good sense of humour and some times they need it! This summer has been glorious but last summer’s students almost developed webbed feet from all the rain! All go home with good memories of working with the award winning team at Frogheath.”

Now back in France, the students are completing their university courses and then hoping to find jobs in horticulture and landscaping. Both say they might even come back to England as they have enjoyed it so much!