Tim Miles

Winner of the 2018 YHOY Competition

A gripping final was enjoyed by more than 90 spectators at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show on Saturday 28th April 2018. The winner, Tim Miles, graduated from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh in 2017, and currently works at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. He represented the South-East Branch of the CIH

Tim, who was delighted to win this prestigious competition said “The entire journey towards winning Young Horticulturist of the year 2018 has been fun.  I have enjoyed meeting members of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, as well as my peers who competed from Great Britain and Ireland. Most accolades celebrate longevity so it is nice to be part of something that promotes young Horticulturists at the beginning of their careers. With the travel bursary i plan to go to Japan. I have a particular interest in Japanese woodland flora, and I am keen to learn more about Japanese horticultural tools and practises, especially pruning techniques”

The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition prize is a £2500 travel bursary, so let’s give young horticulturists the chance to go on a trip of a lifetime!

Emily Marsden

2018 Runner Up

Emily is a second Year apprentice at RHS Harlow Carr and  she was representing the Northern Branch of the CIH. Emily aims to continue her studies and pursue her interests in permaculture and garden design.

Frances Porter

2018 3rd Place

Frances Porter was awarded 3rd place in the competition. Frances is currently studying for a Level 3 Diploma at Derby College’s Broomfield Hall and was representing the North West and North Wales Branch of the CIH. Horticulture is the perfect career choice for her, with her love of the outdoors and she is looking to gain more experience in historic and botanic gardens to further her career path.

Josh Egan Wyer


Owen Harlow


Rosie Innes-Talyor


Sally Newbrook


Leo Walsh





Enter the 2019 Competition here:

Young Horticulturist of the Year competition

For anyone under 30, the Young Horticulturist of the Year (YHOY) competition is a fantastic opportunity to explore an interest in horticulture, test knowledge, and get the opportunity to network with horticultural enthusiasts all over the UK and Ireland. We meet thousands of horticulturists every year, 2000 in 2018 alone, as they battle their way through three challenging rounds.

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.

Percy will always remain strongly connected Shrewsbury and the SHS after his time working as the Parks Superintendent. In 1951 on behalf of the SHS he was asked to design a garden in Berlin on the lines of an English garden in conjunction with the Berlin Superintendent of Parks, Herr Witte.

The competition is free to enter and open to any horticulturist below the age of 30 on 31 July 2019. We will be taking entries for the 2019 competition from November 2018. The competition is run in three phases, the heats, the regional finals and the national final.

Find out more about the different phases of the competition below

The Heats

The heats take place in January and February and are based on multiple choice questions, covering a wide range of horticultural topics. The heats are held mostly at colleges across the UK where entrants will be presented a presentation of 40 multiple choice questions, with four alternative answers.

Each heat rewards 1st prize with £50, 2nd with £30 and 3rd £20. The heats are organised by our team of eight regional organisers who are CIH members.

You can enter from November 2018 for the the 2019 competition.

Regional Finals

Heat winners then go forward to one of eight Regional Finals held in March. The Regional Finals also include 40 multiple choice questions as well as two identification rounds and eight additional rounds on specific areas of horticulture. Some of which are directed at the individual contestants, which are on a buzzer system, to test out the speed of thinking as well as the depth of knowledge.

These finals are held at a wide variety of locations from botanical gardens to RHS properties and well known horticultural colleges.


Each regional final rewards 1st place with £150, 2nd receives £100 and 3rd £75 as well as additional prizes provided by regional sponsors.

Learn more

The Final

The winner of each Regional Final progresses to the Grand Final held held in May. The format is the same as the previous round,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, 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.

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

Learn more about the final

We asked Jess Evans, 2015 champion, a few questions about the competition.

You were the winner of the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition 2015, what affect did that have? On your confidence and your career?

It boosted my confidence no end which in itself helps your career. I didn’t ever think I would get near to achieving that and wasn’t convinced my memory would be able to work that fast. I did enjoy the experience looking back, but found it very nerve wracking on the day!

What would you say to someone who is thinking about entering the competition next year?

Don’t over think the questions and just have a go, its an opportunity to meet other people in the industry and to learn about areas in horticulture you may not know anything about. As well as an opportunity for the trip of a life time.

Our 2018 Young Horticulturist of the Year national sponsors

We are indebted to all of our sponsors; our national sponsors are The Shropshire Horticultural Society, who are the major sponsors of the competition, as well as ICL, Bord Bia, Harrogate Flower Show and the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) who all generously provide sponsorship throughout the duration of the competition. There are also many fantastically generous regional sponsors behind the scenes supporting our heats and regional finals.