The Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition

Information on, and how to take part in, the leading competition for any horticulturlist under 30.

Young horticultarlist in a greenhouse

The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition is a fantastic opportunity to your test knowledge and get the opportunity to meet with fellow horticulturists from all over the UK and Ireland.

The competition is free to enter.

It is open to anyone below the age of 30 on 31 July in the year of entering the competition.

With a prize fund of £8000 there are opportunities to win prizes across the heats, regional finals, and the grand final. The ultimate winner of the competition wins a £2500 travel bursary to fund horticultural related travel anywhere in the world.

Enter the 2020 Competition here

Closing date Friday 28th February 2020

Find out more about the competition

About the Competition

The first recorded national final was held in 1990 at Writtle College in Essex. The competition could not exist without the Shropshire Horticultural Society (SHS) who organise the Fantastic Shrewsbury Flower show every year. The SHS fund a large proportion of the competition and in particular the £2,500 travel bursary awarded to the winner each year.

The funds come from a trust set up in honour of Percy Thrower. Percy was known to many as the first ever celebrity gardener and is recognised for his time on BBC Gardeners World from 1969 to 1976.

The Heats

The heats take place in January and February and consist of 40  multiple choice questions, covering a wide range of horticultural topics. The heats are held various venues across the UK.

Each heat rewards 1st place with £50 and a place in a regional final.

Regional finals

Heat winners then go forward to one of eight regional finals held in March. The semi finals consist of two identification rounds and 8 rounds of buzzer and directed questions on specific areas of horticulture.

These finals are held at a wide variety of locations across the UK from botanical gardens to horticultural colleges.

Each regional final awards 1st place with £150, 2nd place receives £100 and 3rd place £75. The winners of each regional final progress on to the grand final.

The Final

The winner of each regional final progresses on to the Grand Final held in May.

The 2020 final will be held at the RBGE Logan Botanic Garden, on Saturday 2nd May.

The format is the same as the regional finals, with questions covering all sectors of horticulture. The winner of the Final receives the £2,500 Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society & the Percy Thrower Trust, to fund a horticultural trip anywhere in the world. Second place winner goes home with £950, 3rd with £550 and the rest of the runners up all receive £200, all to be used in any way they wish.

Each of the finalists is also awarded membership to the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and PlantNetwork.

Previous winners have visited Borneo, China, New Zealand, South Africa, the Himalayas, and the Galapagos Islands to name just a few!

2020 Sponsors

We are indebted to all our sponsors; our major sponsors are the Percy Thrower Bursary and Shropshire Horticultural Society. Bord Bia who sponsor all Ireland’s heats and regional finals.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, who are hosting the Grand Final this year.

We have many generous regional sponsors supporting our heats and regional finals.  They include Bulldog Tools, who provide a set of tools for each regional winner, Caulders Garden Centres, Cherry Lane Garden Centres, Harrogate Flower Shows, PlantNetwork and Stockbridge Technology Centre.

For 2020 we also have Adrian Stockdale, current Editor of the ‘Plant Names Simplified’ reference book, first published in 1931 and a favourite of many generations of horticultural students and practitioners ever since. He will be providing a copy of the book for each of the eight Regional Final winners.

We would like to extend our thanks to the following venues who generously hosted the Regional finals. National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, Pollok House, Thorp Perrow Gardens and Arboretum, Mysercough College, Pershore College, Writtle University College, Meristwood College and the University of Exeter