12June2024

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Paul Traynor from Ireland in Top 6 out of 2000 Entrants at Young Horticulturist of the Year

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Suzanne Moss wins Institute of Horticulture Young Horticulturist of the Year 2011

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Suzanne Moss, a student at RHS Garden Wisley, has won the much sought after and nationally acclaimed Institute of Horticulture 2011 Young Horticulturist of the Year competition at the Grand Final, held at the Bramall Learning Centre, RHS Garden Harlow Carr on Saturday 7 May.

After the competition, Suzanne said she was ‘extremely excited and surprised about winning, I wasn't expecting it at all. It was hard work as the calibre of all the contestants was so high and it was a very closely fought race. Chris Parsons in particular was amazing and his answers were always quick and concise and, more to the point, correct.’ Suzanne has plans to use her £2000 Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society, to travel to Madagascar to study the native flora.

institute of  horticulture
Suzanne Moss wins Institute of Horticulture Young Horticulturist of the Year 2011top-three-yhoy-2011-winner_-suzanne-moss-runner-up_christopher-parsons-3rd-place_james-english-with-sue-minter-fi-hortinstitute-of-horticulture.jpg
Suzanne Moss, a student at RHS Garden Wisley, has won the much sought after and nationally acclaimed Institute of Horticulture 2011 Young Horticulturist of the Year competition at the Grand Final, held at the Bramall Learning Centre, RHS Garden Harlow Carr on Saturday 7 May.

After the competition, Suzanne said she was ‘extremely excited and surprised about winning, I wasn't expecting it at all. It was hard work as the calibre of all the contestants was so high and it was a very closely fought race. Chris Parsons in particular was amazing and his answers were always quick and concise and, more to the point, correct.’ Suzanne has plans to use her £2000 Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society, to travel to Madagascar to study the native flora.

The contestants from the Institute’s eight branches were watched as they battled it out by an audience of 60 including the main competition sponsors, Brian and Daphne Goodwinn of the Shropshire Horticultural Society, Peter Hunt from MorePeople and Ian Ashton, Board Member of the Horticultural Development Company. The Institute was delighted that Ann Kirkham, Percy Thrower’s daughter, was able to attend once again and presented the prizes. All contestants won cash prizes, a year’s free membership of the Institute of Horticulture and a book entitled Plants and Places.

The competition, now in its 22nd year has seen nearly 2000 students from across Britain and Ireland taking part in local heats and regional finals over recent months. For the lucky eight contestants it was a hard slog to reach the Grand Final, having answered 45 questions in the heats as well as upwards of 40 questions across every aspect of horticulture in their regional finals. They also had to cope with tough equipment, plant and pest and disease identification rounds to secure their places in last Saturday’s Grand Final.

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Susan Minter, President of the Institute of Horticulture, said: 'This year's Grand Final was the second time in succession that a woman has emerged as the winner but it was close, within two points up until the final two rounds. The immense variety of things horticulturists are expected to know never ceases to amaze me and I am sure would impress the general public if this was a Gardeners’ Question Time.'

Peter Road-Knight Secretary of the Shropshire Horticultural Society says ‘Shropshire Horticultural Society has been involved in the sponsorship of the Grand Final of the Institute of Horticulture Young Horticulturist of the Year competition from the outset of the event. Following the death of Mr Percy Thrower, who was for many years the Society’s Honorary Horticultural Adviser, the Society were looking for a way of perpetuating his name nationally in the world of horticulture, and providing a Bursary in his name to support a competition that was aimed at providing financial assistance to enable those just entering on a career in horticulture to undertake travel to extend their knowledge seemed an ideal way of tying in ‘the old and the new’. We have greatly enjoyed our involvement in this manner with the Institute of Horticulture.’

Peter Hunt, Director MorePeople says ‘This is the 5 th year of our involvement with the Young Horticulturalist of the Year competition and we are delighted to see the competition develop as each year has gone by. As a business that specialises in recruitment in the horticulture and fresh food industries we are always keen to promote the images of these sectors and the great opportunities that exist in these areas for young people looking to establish a long term and rewarding career. We’ve always been keen to see the competition encompass all sectors of horticulture and help the Institute of Horticulture to raise the profile of Young Horticulturalist of the Year with our clients in the commercial sector. So we are particularly pleased that this year we’ve been able to work with the Garden Centre Group to encourage participation from some of their talented young horticulturalists and enjoyed their hospitality at Bressingham for the Eastern Regional Final. The involvement this year of the RHS can also only be seen as another positive step in raising awareness of the competition and we look forward to working with the Institute of Horticulture and other sponsors to raise the profile of Young Horticulturalist of the Year even further over the next few years.’

Ian Ashton, Board Member, Horticultural Development Company says ‘HDC are delighted to be associated with this competition where talented young people are able to demonstrate their knowledge of and enthusiasm for all things horticultural.’

The finalists, from across the eight Institute of Horticulture regional branches were:

1st place – Suzanne Moss (South East Branch)

2nd place – Chris Parsons (Northern Branch)

3rd place – James English (Eastern Branch)

4th place – Douglas Mackay (West Midlands and South Wales Branch)

5th place – Katie Croft (Scottish Branch)

6th place – Paul Traynor (Irish Branch)

7th place – Chris Lockwood (North West and North Wales Branch)

8th place – Michael Gregory (South West Branch)

Last year’s winner Faye Steer, is due to go on a study tour of China this summer using her £2000 travel bursary. On her return she will produce a report about her trip and that will be published in a future volume of the Institute’s quarterly Journal, The Horticulturist.