Previous Sparsholt Apprentice, Tim Stafford, has beaten tough competition to be crowned the Chartered Institute of Horticulture’s ‘Young Horticulturalist of the Year’!

The Young Horticulturalist of the Year award is a prestigious national competition, held annually by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. Nominees go through rigorous rounds of competition until nominated for the Grand Final, where the winner 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.  

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

Tim started his journey on an NVQ Level 2 Horticulture Operative Apprenticeship at Sparsholt College with Heckfield Place, before progressing onto the highly respected and competitive Kew Diploma in Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 

After being nominated for the award earlier this year, The grand final award ceremony took place at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s site Logan Botanic Garden, where the finalists battled it out in a fast-paced competition to sieze the title. Tim came through to win in the last round due to his quick buzzer technique, backed up by correct answers to some challenging questions.

Danielle Fancourt, Curriculum Leader for Horticulture at Sparsholt College, commented “We are so proud to have educated such a fantastic individual, and most importantly the next generation of horticulturalists.”

Sparsholt College’s Horticulture department now looks ahead to continue a successful run at the postponed RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021, this year being held in September. Tom Heap, Journalist and BBC Countryfile Presenter will be supporting the exhibit ‘The Natural Kalendar’ which has been recreated by Sparsholt College in collaboration with Gilbert White’s House and Gardens to celebrate Gilbert White’s 301st birthday. This garden shows how observations by White (1720 – 93), the father of ecology, enlightened people to the changing seasons and species activity in Selborne, Hampshire.   

This success also comes off the back of a ‘Gold’ award received for Sparsholt College’s collaboration ‘Beautiful Border’ garden with Cancer charity Maggie’s at the BBC Gardener’s World Fair, Beaulieu, held in June this year. 

With a national reputation for excellence in horticulture and garden design, Sparsholt provides students with the valuable knowledge and training to launch them directly into the industry or higher study at university.  Find out more about our established Horticulture courses here.