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Self employed gardener wins Final

Chris Parsons, a self-employed gardener from County Durham, has won the much sought after and nationally acclaimed Institute of Horticulture 2014 Young Horticulturist of the Year competition (YHoY) at the Grand Final, held at the John Innes Centre, Norwich on 10th May. He wins the coveted £2,000 Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society. 

The competition, now in its 25th year, has seen nearly 2,000 young horticulturalists 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 40 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 plant and pest and disease identification rounds to secure their places in last Saturday's Grand Final. 

Leigh Morris FI Hort, President, Institute of Horticulture said "My warmest congratulations go to all eight finalists, who all achieved so much to get to the Grand Final, and particularly Chris Parsons, who won the day and became Young Horticulturist of the Year 2014! It was the 3rd year Chris has reached the Grand Final and the experience of two previous near misses helped him to victory."

The 2014 finalists were:

1st place - Chris Parsons - Self-employed gardener;

2nd place - Jess Evans - National Trust (Tintinhull);

3rd place - Kristina Vandenberg - student of the RHS Wisley Diploma in Practical Horticulture, Wisley;

Runners up:

Guy Jones - Owner of Emotive Landscapes;

Rosie Kippen - BSc (Hons) student at Writtle College and Nursery Assistant;

Lachlan Rae - student, HND in Horticulture with Plantsmanship, at SRUC Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh;

Stephen Walsh - student at Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin;

Lawrence Wright - student gardener, Historic and Botanic Garden Bursary Scheme, at Chatsworth House.

This annual national competition, which is free to enter and open to any horticulturist in the UK below the age of 30 on 31 July each year, is organised by the Institute of Horticulture - which represents all those professionally engaged in horticulture in the UK and Ireland. Anyone interested in taking part in the 2015 competition should contact:


13 May 2014