Young Horticulturist of the Year – Northern Branch Regional Final

The Northern Branch of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture hosted its Regional Final for the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition on the 12 March 2022 at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. And kindly invited PlantNetwork along for the day.

Not only was it an opportunity for all who attended to test their own expertise in the competition (albeit as silently as possible), it also showcased the amazing knowledge of our young horticulturists. The Regional Finalists comprised a mix of established gardeners, trainees, students and apprentices from different gardens across the North of England. Congratulations to all who took part!

All competitors took part in 10 rounds which were a mix of “fastest to buzz in” and directed questions. The rounds were themed to ensure that as much horticultural knowledge could be tested including production horticulture, science, ornamental plants, horticultural practices and general knowledge. There were also identification rounds focusing on weeds, pests and diseases as well as plants – even down to cultivars.

The winner of this Regional Final will join other regional winners at the National Grand Final. The National Grand Final takes place at the University of Warwick on 07 May 2022. The winner of the National Grand Final will win the £2500 Percy Thrower travel bursary provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society & the Percy Thrower Trust.

Northern Regional Finalists

All finalists received the Bruce Rigby Memorial Award which was a copy of the book, “The Green Planet”, after the accompanying BBC television show of the same name. The Derek Hargreaves Memorial Award was awarded for the first time, in recognition of Derek who was a founder member of the Institute of Horticulture and more recently Chair and then Treasurer for the Northern Branch. The award was given to the finalist with the highest score in the identification rounds.

First place went to Lucy Whitehead, an apprentice gardener at Belsay Hall, English Heritage. Lucy will now go on to represent the Northern Branch at the National Grand Final. Lucy was also awarded a rabbiting spade for first place, provided by Bulldog Tools.

Congratulations to the other competitors: 

  • 2nd- Bertie Swainston, Alpine Trainee, Alpine Garden Society, RHS Harlow Carr and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Bertie received the Derek Hargreaves Memorial Award.
  • 3rd- Joe Lofthouse, Horticulturist, RHS Harlow Carr.
  • Katerina Vallianatou, Gardener, Newby Hall. 
  • Molly Turgoose, Horticultural Apprentice, RHS Harlow Carr.
  • Kathryn Flynn, Apprentice Gardener, Rudding Park.
  • Nele Noormets, 2nd year student, Landscape Architecture BSc, University of Sheffield

How to take part in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition

Watch out for notification in early 2023 (and hopefully all subsequent years) for the qualifying rounds of the competition. It is open to anyone under the age of 30 and is a great way to test your horticultural knowledge, with the real possibility of a prize. The competition is well regarded in the industry so reaching the Regional Finals and even the National Grand Final is a great addition to your CV.

Give it a go in 2023!

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