Sally Petitt

Head of Horticulture Sally Petitt
2006 – present    Head of Horticulture
1999   Deputy Garden Supervisor
1996   Supervisor, Alpine & Rock Garden Section
1991   Technician, Herbaceous Woodland Section, with responsibility for the Woodland Garden, Conservation Area, Chronological Bed, Scented Garden and Herbaceous Island Beds.

Sally Petitt has been Head of Horticulture at the Botanic Garden since 2006; previously the role was known as Garden Supervisor.  Sally joined the Garden in 1988, as a trainee horticultural technician and was promoted to Deputy Garden supervisor in 1999.  She took over as Garden Supervisor (now Head of Horticulture), in 2006.  Sally heads the Horticultural Team of 14 permanent staff and six trainees across the seven sections of the Garden, including colleague, Peter Kerley, Supervisor of Display and Demonstration.

Today, the Botanic Garden is divided into seven horticultural sections, each with a supervisor, an assistant and one trainee, working in rotation in all sections (except Landscape and Machinery). The sections consist of: Alpine & Woodland, Display & Demonstration, Experimental, Glasshouse, Landscape & Machinery, Systematic Beds, Trees & Shrubs.

In 2003, Sally Petitt was awarded the Sir William and Lady Lawrence Award, a prestigious international award given to someone under the age of 35 years, who has made a significant contribution to work with alpines. She has been a committee member of the local Alpine Garden Society group since 1998.  Sally regularly teaches a range of horticultural courses in the Botanic Garden, including the Learn to Garden weekend masterclass, Scented Plants and Mixed Borders, as well as contributing magazine and journal articles, including for the RHS journal The Garden and Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. Sally also serves as a trustee of the Merlin Trust, a horticultural charity which awards travel grants to young horticulturalists, and she is a member of the Chelsea Physic Garden Advisory Committee.

Over the years, Sally has undertaken numerous field trips and led tours to Asia, including the Botanic Garden Deosai Expedition to Northern Pakistan in 1998. She received an award from the Alpine Garden Society for her report of the trip. The exhibition collected 18,000 herbarium specimens, as well as seeds. In 2000, Sally was a member of the Alpine Garden Society Expedition to Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan provinces, China, in collaboration with the China Academy of Science, Xining.  In 2004, she accompanied Dr Tim Upson to Armenia on a visit to the National Botanic Garden in Yerevan.

(Above left) Sally Petitt with Chris Beardshaw of BBC’s Gardeners’ World TV series and BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time on a visit to the Botanic Garden.   (Right) Dr Tim Upson, Bob Flowerdew and Sally Petitt.  Bob Flowerdew is a Norfolk organic gardener and regular panel member on Gardeners’ Question Time and hosts TV programmes.

Selected Publications
Pettit, SC (2006) Lonicera setifera. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine 23: 51-55
Pettit, SC and Upson, TM (2006) Rosa x pteragonis ‘Cantabrigiensis’. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine 23: 30 – 36
Pettit, SC (2004) Pretty Small Naturally. RHS The Garden, 129: 184-187
Pettit, SC (2003) Tulips as Nature Intended. RHS The Garden 128: 260-265
Pettit, SC (2002) First Impressions. The Alpine Gardener Vol 70, No. 2 257 – 265