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Testimonials - YHoY finalists

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Winner Young Horticulturist of the Year 2011

Suzanne Moss I am currently working as Adult Learning Coordinator at RHS Garden Wisley. The adult learning programme here has recently had a facelift and it is great to be involved in such an exciting project. We run courses in horticulture, botanical art, photography and floral art - it is great to enthuse people about horticulture and provide them with the skills they need to enjoy their garden and tend it successfully. I love it!

My plans I had when I was an YHoY finalist have completely changed for the better. I didn't plan to move out of practical horticulture so quickly but this job was an opportunity too good to miss.

My advice to those taking part in the competition is to try and enjoy it and use it as a good incentive to improve your knowledge. It was great to meet new people and see their take on the world of horticulture. The Institute of Horticulture is doing great things for young people and the future of horticulture and the more young people who are involved, the better!

I would definitely recommend taking part in YHoY. It is always good to test your knowledge and learn new things. It also opens up exciting new doors and gets you thinking outside of the box. FEBRUARY 2012.

Finalist Young Horticulturist of the Year 2011
Rowanna Shorney I am currently studying the final year of my horticulture degree at Pershore College, under Worcester University, after graduating from my foundation degree at Bicton College in Devon. I am enjoying the experience immensely; I'm currently working on my independent study in which I'm trailing the effectiveness of Equisetum arvense as a organic fungicide on plant model Arabidopsis thaliana and pathogen model hyaloperonospora arabidopsis. Working with the facilities at the National Pollen and Allergen Research Unit based at Worcester University is an incredibly valuable experience and a real learning curve.
I competed in the YHoY competition in my first year of study at Bicton, a real horticultural novice having no prior qualifications in science and my only experience in the field was as a hobbiest - I wouldn't say that I had any plans set in stone, but the competition really validated my career choices and has given me the confidence to follow the opportunities I've been given. I feel confident of my choices and of a successful and enjoyable career ahead of me (with much, much more to learn!).

Competing the the YHoY opened my eyes to the field of Horticulture, as it is not something that is advertised as a career choice among young people. Being a 'gardener' is stigmatised as being fairly 'uncool', but I beg to differ - there is a world of knowledge out there, with a massively wide field, horticulture is not just gardening, it's plant sciences, earth sciences, microbiology, genetic studies, environmental studies, design... the list goes on. It's a life time of study!

My advice to new entrants is just do it! I found the final a terrifying experience, but also very liberating and it is something that has inadvertently opened doors for me. You'll be surprised at where it'll take you!

To quote DJ Shadow - 'It's cool to be you, when you love what you do' "

Finalist Young Horticulturist of the Year 2010
Kathryn Owen I took part in the Grand Final of the Young Horticulturalist of the Year at Kew in 2010. At the time I was a trainee with the National Trust at Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire. I am now Assistant to the Head Gardener at Landhaus Ettenbuehl, a private garden in southern Germany. Having trained in the historical horticultural sector I had been keen to visit historic gardens in France and Germany.

The competition helped to focus my mind as to what future I wanted to take, and so following it I applied to the National Trust for a travel bursary to examine the influences upon and history of gardens in Germany. I undertook the trip in July 2011, and started my new job here in Germany in August 2011. I really wanted something that would challenge me and a garden with contrasting styles of planting and ethos to my previous job in order to broaden my knowledge. I found that here and am very much enjoying working with the greater freedom of design, planting and approach that a private garden gives. It is also very interesting to see how the horticultural industry here is developing and the movements taking place to promote gardening and broaden the education, also to immerse myself in a different culture, and language.

I hadn't expected to take part in the Young Horticulturalist of the Year competition, but it was an enjoyable experience. It was interesting to meet people of a similar age involved in the industry and from different areas of expertise. It also introduces you to other networks within the horticultural industry. To anyone thinking about taking part just go for it, enjoy it, and make the most of it. FEBRUARY 2012.



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