Meet the Students

Current Fellows


Former Fellows

Chikako Okubo


Chikako graduated from University of Hyogo with Master of Landscape Design and Management. Her major field of study was Maintenance and Management of Plants. She did an internship in a park of Kobe-city and a park of Awaji-island. And worked part-time at a landscape gardening supplier of Awaji and Kyoto, learning the trimming of trees.

Her job is design and maintenance of greenery to a variety of locations including rooftops, parking lots, building walls, and within rooms. Newly, add the management of the plants of Osaka-castle park.

Takeshi Nakatsuka


Takeshi graduated Kinki University Graduate School of Agriculture and Master’s courses, looking at lignin degredation of mushrooms. He joined Hanshin engei Corporation, and has been engaged in green space management and park construction.

Katie Croft


Katie trained at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and with the National Trust for Scotland at Threave Estate. She has been working at the National Trust’s stunning 80 acre Bodnant Garden in North Wales for three years. Apart from her standard maintenance duties, Katie’s role has also included planning & running events, improving engagement with families, writing interpretation and publicity, creating a new peat bed and teaching and assessing part of the student programme.

Katie’s training at RBGE inspired her interest in international horticulture and she is particularly excited to see plants we consider exotic growing in their native environments. She is also looking forward to learning about how people relate to and value gardens in different cultures, and gaining a deeper understanding of global horticulture. Of course, she also hopes to learn lots of new practical skills!

Matthew Smith

bio pic

Matthew is a gardener at Hidcote Manor Gardens.  Matthew has been at Hidcote since September 2006.  He studied for RHS qualifications whilst apprenticing as a winter labourer.  He has progressed whilst at Hidcote to be an experienced gardener, amongst a talented, skilled and supportive team.

Matthew’s interest in horticulture comes from his family.  His grandparents and parents are and were keen gardeners, as well as his mother and grandmother creating floral art.  He hopes the triad fellowship will cement his existing skills, and he will learn and study a range of others from talented and generous people.  Culture and horticulture.  He hopes to learn as much as possible about these and their relationship, and to make good friendships where these meet.

Hitomi Kawasaki

portrait hitomi

She was born in Kyoto. She was fascinated by Bonsai in her highschool days. Since then, she’s  been studying Bonsai, and engaged in various Bonsai  activities such as  publishing “Modern Bonsai”, displaying Bonsai, promoting traditional Bonsai as well as modern Bonsai at home and abroad, and  working for Bonsai as a curator.  After a lot of work experiences, she entered the Kyoto Institute of Technology graduate school, and garaduated with MA in 2012. She continues to study about Bonsai in a doctor’s course. She looks forward to discovering something new and innovative to appreciate Bonsai  through this global Triad program experience.

Misho Okawa


Misho graduated from University of Hyogo with the degree of bachelor of Human Science and Environment. Her major field of study was Design for human habitation. At 3rd year, she studied English in England for 10 months. At 4th year, she organized the student association called “Kinoko(=Chidren of Tree)” and managed it as first leader and performed “Tree house project” that designed a tree house and planned for environment education for local childen in the satoyama landscape. After that, she got master’s degree of Landscape Design and Management at graduated school of University of Hyogo(= Hyogo Prefectural Awaji Landscape Planning & Horticulture Academy). Her major field of study was Community Design.  Her interest is to connect human and human, human and nature in green environment.

Nicholas Giaquinto


Originally from Commack, NY. Nicholas graduated from Farmingdale State College with a bachelor’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture. As an intern, he studied Conservatory Management at Longowood Gardens. Nicholas has an interest in garden design history, particularly gardens of the Italian Renaissance.

Christina Olivieri

C. 'purple light'

Christina received her BSC in Conservation Biology from the SUNY- College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She has worked as a research assistant with the United States National Arboretum, United States Department of Agriculture, and the American Chestnut Foundation. Currently, Christina studies greenhouse production at Longwood Gardens. Ultimately, she is interested in pursuing a career which strives to showcase and protect the diversity of life by strengthening the bonds between humans and their natural surroundings. Christina plans to achieve this goal through her sincere passions for botany and horticulture, and through purposeful garden design developed with inspiration from the gardens of the world.

Phil Brown


For the past 2 years I’ve been working as a gardener for the Trust. During this time I have undertaken a wide range of tasks including hedge cutting on a large scale, border work, pruning and propagation. I have also worked closely with the volunteer gardeners.

During my time at Pershore College I was given the opportunity to help in the building of a roof top garden which formed part of the college’s exhibit at the 2007 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I was thrilled when we were awarded a bronze medal!

Rhiannon Harris

Rhiannon Jane Harris

Rhiannon stumbled upon the simple pleasure of gardening five years ago and was hooked from the moment she opened her very first seed packet! After volunteering with the National Trust at Peckover Gardens, she decided to retrain as a gardener under the Trust’s Academy scheme at Chartwell in Kent, where she developed a broad range of practical horticultural skills whilst studying for a number of qualifications. This year Rhiannon was fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer as a gardener/garden designer in Morocco, working for the charity REEP. Rhiannon says that she works at her best when she’s being challenged to develop new skills: the Triad fellowship will enable her to further develop her horticultural interests and skills through examining the way plants are displayed, used, cared for and interpreted in three distinctly different cultures and types of garden.’

Timothy Heslop


Walking through the forests and fields of Upstate New York, Tim found himself drawn to the natural world from childhood. Over the last eight years, he has explored many aspects of horticulture including research, production, landscape maintenance, and retail, from botanic gardens to the private sector. In 2015, he completed the Professional Gardener Certification at Longwood Gardens, and began looking at plants in vastly different ways. Looking to utilize the arts in horticulture, Tim is anxious to study garden history and design around the world, to one day give others the inspiration he found in nature.

James Rockwell


Growing up on a small beef cattle farm in Virginia, James knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in horticulture. This spring, he completed dual Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Environmental Horticulture and Agribusiness Management at Virginia Tech. Here, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant and a floral design teaching assistant. In the summer of 2014, James served as a greenhouse production intern at Longwood Gardens. These positions helped to shape his path in horticulture. Two of his passions are plants and people, which he hopes to combine in a future career that involves public engagement of horticulture.

From the TRIAD Fellowship, James hopes to gain practical experience in the many aspects of gardening. His special interests are propagation and education. He is also eager to build relationships with gardener-mentors from around the world.

Maiko Ishida


Maiko began her professional career in horticulture as a designer for private gardens. Her first achievement came when her design was selected by the Marunouchi Nakadori Gardening Show in Tokyo in 2011. She learnt technical design skills at the E&G Academy, and has a long history of practical gardening from early in life, in particular with vegetable gardens.

More recently, she completed an MSc in Conservation of Historic Gardens and Cultural Landscapes at the University of Bath, with a view to working in garden management. While volunteering at Bath city farm, she enjoyed growing plants with other volunteers, and recognised the importance of community engagement for sustainable conservation.

In taking up TRIAD, she is passionate to learn about various ranges of plants, and to understand different ideas of garden styles, community involvement and conservation methods. She is also very keen on understanding what Japanese gardens look like abroad.

Liu Nan


Nan graduated on April 2016 from University of Hyogo with a master’s degree in landscape design. With a desire to learn more about plants and expose to more types of designs, she became a Triad fellow. Her focus is on plant display and garden design and she wants to become a designer for interior plantscaping in the future.

Bryan Kottke


Bryan first entered the horticulture industry 8 years ago when he began working at a local retail greenhouse & garden center. He had always enjoyed growing plants, and spent time as a kid helping his grandma in her own garden.

Most recently, Bryan completed his training at Longwood Gardens as a conservatory management intern and then Longwood’s two year Professional Gardener Program. He is looking forward to learning more about the diverse history and design of gardens in the UK and Japan.

Adam Dooling


Adam’s professional training began with an internship on the High Line, where he became enamored with public horticulture and the transformative potential of gardening.  He is a graduate of Longwood Garden’s Professional Gardener Class of 2015, and before embarking on the TRIAD Fellowship, worked for Longwood’s Research and Plant Records departments respectively.

Adam’s interests lay at the intersection between conservation and design, and he feels fortunate to explore them both across the globe through the TRIAD Fellowship.

Colette Barnes


 After completing a BSc in Biology at the University of York, Colette wanted to pursue a more practical application of her plant knowledge. Volunteering at Middlethorpe Hall, a local National Trust property, inspired her to study for the RHS Level 2, after which she took up a year-long traineeship at RHS Harlow Carr. Here, she learned a vast amount, from being introduced to rare and interesting plants, to gaining skills in machinery use, to how to plan, create and maintain a vegetable garden plot, all as part of a skilled and dedicated team.

Currently working at Hidcote Manor garden, she is excited to explore different landscapes and cultures, learning new techniques, plants and gardening styles, to further explore the potential of horticulture. Seeing plants in their native environment is one of the main areas she would like to engage in, and learning from talented gardeners around the world.


  1. Mori

    Hi, Nick & Christina,
    My name is Mori. I am working in TRIAD office in Awaji,Japan. I enjoy your blog. Soon you will see how our Japanese fellows ,Misho & Hitomi have been doing inthe TRIAD blog.
    I am very happy to know that both seems to enjoy Triad practical training. over there.I told ALPHA students about your blog so that you may get some emails from ALPHA students.
    I hope you will get to know our students well by the time you come to Awaji.

  2. Fantastic blog! I’m on a horticultural traineeship at the moment and am thinking of applying for the Triad Fellowship when I finish my current course. Looking forward to reading your future posts! 😀

  3. AliG

    Fantastic! All of us at Chartwell are following Rhiannon’s progress particularly closely, we miss her but are thrilled that she’s on the Fellowship, best of luck to all of you!

  4. Nancy West

    Congratulations Rhiannon, you have certainly ‘blossomed’ since your days in Peckover reception, good luck in your involvement in this project

  5. Huw Matravers

    Hi Rhiannon,This is uncle Huw and Lisa wishing you a happy exciting time what a wounderful experiance we will be following you all the way !!!xxx

  6. I would like to leave a message to the students.
    I am a Japanese horticulturist living in Tokyo. I studied at New York Botanical Garden and visited Longwood Gardens and Hidcote while I was abroad. If any of you want information or assistance to see or know more about Japanese horticulture, I am willing to support you. I met Yoko-san at Longwood and Mr Mike Beeston at Hidcote. Please refer to them about me if you feel hesitate to contact.


    • Misho(実生)

      Thank you very much for your message. I am Misho Okawa.
      I’ll send you email soon.

  7. Very interesting. I have studied many gardens in the world, including Sorakuen Garden where I was a member and met Hiro san. I’m and landscape designer experienced in all phases of landscape. Excuse me, may I communicate with some members about gardens? It’s a great idea to help and learn from each other internationally.

  8. Taiki Ikeda

    My name is Taiki Ikeda. I am Uiversity of Hyogo’ student.
    I’m having second thoughts about entering for TRIAD.I want to hear your story.
    I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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