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Final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year

Jez Stamp, currently working with the BBC Gardeners' World production team, has won the much sought after and nationally acclaimed Institute of Horticulture 2013 Young Horticulturist of the Year competition (YHoY)at the Grand Final, held at the Liverpool University Ness Botanic Gardens on Saturday 13 April. He wins the £2000 Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society. 

After the competition, Jez said 'It was an excellent competition that highlights all the exciting opportunities that horticulture has to offer as a career. Plants are my passion. I have thrown myself in 100% and am proud to have won this competition. My travel bursary will give me a chance to continue my studies of woody plants and I will be looking at Western China and Taiwan as possible locations.'

The contestants from the Institute's eight branches battled it out in front of an audience of 100 supporters from across the industry, including the national competition sponsors; Bryony Cooper representing the Shropshire Horticultural Society, Peter Hunt from MorePeople and Ruth Ashfield from the Horticultural Development Company. All contestants won cash prizes, a year's free membership of the Institute of Horticulture and a copy of a new book entitled: The Genus Betula, a Taxonomic Revision of Birches by Kenneth Ashburner & Hugh A McAllister.

The competition, now in its 24th 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 Saturday's Grand Final. 

Leigh Morris FI Hort, President, Institute of Horticulture said "The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition (YHoY) is, in my view, one of the most important things the Institute of Horticulture (IoH) does. I've been involved with YHoY since the late 1980's as a competitor, finalist, heat organizer, Quiz Master and now as President supporting the event and smiling in the presentation photos! It was wonderful for me to be at the Grand Final to support and encourage these young horticulturists and huge thanks from the Institute go to all our sponsors, both regional and national. As I said to Jez at the end of the Grand Final "with a £2000 travel bursary, the world is definitely his oyster" and I am certain he'll be a fantastic ambassador for the YHoY competition and the IoH. Well done Jez!"

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

1st place - Jez Stamp - BBC Gardeners World, representing the South East Branch;

2nd place - Chris Parsons - Gardener, Manfield, County Durham, representing the Northern Branch;

3rd place - Lucy Baker - Wyken Hall, Suffolk, representing the Eastern Branch;

4th place - Mark Flahive - Self-employed landscaper, representing the Ireland Branch;

5th place - Sara Perzley - Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, representing the Scotland Branch;

6th place - Matthew Hussey - Sparsholt College, representing the South West Branch;

7th place - Owen Groves - Pershore College representing the West Midlands and South Wales Branch;

8th place - Alex Tranmer - National Trust, representing the North West and North Wales Branch

Last year's winner, Douglas Mackay, is due to take up his £2000 Travel Bursary later this year. On his return he will produce a report about his trip which will be published in a future volume of the Institute's quarterly Journal, The Horticulturist.

Anyone interested in taking part in, or sponsoring, the 2014 competition should contact the Institute of Horticulture Tel: 01992 707025 or Email:


Notes to editors

For more information or images please contact Jen Lemon on 0845 0304063 Ext 242/email or the Institute of Horticulture Tel: 01992 707025/

About the Insitue of Horticulture: The Institute of Horticulture was established in 1984 with the aim of fostering a close relationship between all sectors of professional horticulture (advisory and research, amenity, commercial and education and training) throughout the UK and Ireland. The Institute is represented on, and works collaboratively with, allied bodes throughout the industry to unite a growing profession. The Institute provides the administrative support to Grow an initiative set up in 2006 by some of the UK's leading horticulture organisations to promote horticulture as a challenging, dynamic, exciting and rewarding career. The Institute has eight branches throughout the UK and Ireland, and an increasing membership from overseas. Members are attached to the branch where they live but are encouraged to attend meetings arranged in any other branch area.

About Ness Gardens: The Gardens were created in 1898 by Arthur Kilpin Bulley, a wealthy cotton broker from Liverpool. Passionate about plants, he funded various plant hunting expeditions to the Far East for hunters such as George Forrest whose huge Pieris formosa 'Forrestii' from China, can still be seen today. Bulley created a garden of the unusual and the rare and shared it freely with his village neighbours. He also established the renowned Bees Seeds company. The Gardens were donated to the University of Liverpool in 1948 by Bulley's daughter. They now attract over 60,000 visitors a year; there are in excess of 7,000 Friends of Ness Gardens who have provided financial support for over fifty years and more than 200 volunteers work across the Gardens.

Memebership of the Friends of Ness is open to anyone.  For more information email or visit Friends of Ness Gardens