More than 1,800 young horticulturists from the UK and Ireland entered the competition this year, and the eight finalists, who have battled their way through both local heats and regional finals, will compete for the title and the £2,500 Percy Thrower Travel Bursary.
The bursary is awarded by the Shropshire Horticultural Society and enables the competition winner to undertake a trip, anywhere in the world, to study a subject related to their chosen field of horticulture. Additionally, there are cash prizes for all finalists, as well as other prizes, totalling in excess of £13,000, for those who have taken part in the heats and the regional finals.
The finalists competing in the 2015 Young Horticulturist of the Year grand final are:
* Jonathan Davies-Coleman, student at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh/Scotland's Rural College Edinburgh - representing the Scotland Branch
* Sian Nichol, student at Kirkley Hall Campus, Northumberland College -representing the Northern Branch
* Samuel Moore, student at Writtle College - representing the Eastern Branch
* Franics Mulholland, Student at Greenmount Campus, CAFRE - representing the Ireland Branch
* Alexander Hankey, student at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - representing the South East Branch
* John Grundy, student at Myerscough College- representing the North West and North Wales Branch
* Jessica Evans, head gardener, Tintinhull Gardens, National Trust - representing the South West Branch
* Josh Egan-Wyer ACIHort, nursery manager, Pershore College – representing the West Midlands and South Wales Branch
Chris Parsons, the 2014 YHoY winner, said: "The YHoY competition has been brilliant and over the last four years that I have entered I have met some excellent like-minded people from all over the country. The competition this year was exceptionally strong. The mountains of Vietnam and Taiwan both seem to be botanically very interesting and are places that I may visit with my travel bursary."
Andrew Gill C Hort FCIHort, president, Chartered Institute of Horticulture said: "The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition epitomises many of the values of The Chartered Institute of Horticulture, the things we stand for; the professional standing of horticulture, the community of professional horticulturists and developing professional horticulturists. The competition gets better every year and the knowledge of horticulture of the finalists is often astounding! I am hugely looking forward to being there and very grateful to the sponsors and organisers for an event which does great credit to all involved."
Rosie Yeomans, garden consultant, lecturer, writer and broadcaster said: "It’s exciting to know that as question master at the Young Horticulturist of the Year final I’ll be in front of the greatest young talent in horticulture. The future holds so many opportunities for them and best of all, no matter who wins, they’ve all chosen a winning career with the most job satisfaction."
The Chartered Institute of Horticulture sponsors of the 2015 competition include the Shropshire Horticultural Society for the 25th year, MorePeople, the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) and Wyevale Garden Centres. There are also many regional and local sponsors.