Home advantage paid off for Irish horticulture student Jimmy O’Connor, who was crowned the Institute of Horticulture’s (IoH’s) Young Horticulturist of the Year at the final in Dublin on Saturday.
In a tense final, O’Connor’s knowledge of machinery appeared to tip the competition in his favour — and his fast reactions on the buzzer in the final round helped him get 41 points and beat garden centre manager Ian Roofe, from Norwich, and student Alex Summer, from Derby, who both finished tied for second with 36 points.
O’Connor won the Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, worth £2,000, to fund a horticultural tour anywhere in the world. He told HW a trip to Greenland to see the impact of climate change on the country’s plants was one option he was considering.
IoH president Tony Girard said the competition was an important event for nurturing future horticulturists and the level of competition he saw “spoke volumes” about the next generation of plantsmen.
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