Sparsholt College’s Horticulture department has celebrated a summer of success, as current and previous students have been recognised with nominations and awards in national competitions over the past few months. 

After an unprecedented two years, Sparsholt student Charlotte White has received the ‘Best Student’ award in the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) Chalk Fund Student of the Year Competition. Completing her Level 3 ATD Horticulture course with a Distinction this summer, Charlotte’s hard work has also been recognised by her tutors, who chose her to work as part of the landscaping team for the College’s annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden entry. 

Danielle Fancourt, Curriculum Lead and Lecturer at the College’s Horticulture department has expressed her pride in Charlotte’s work ethic. She commented “Charlotte really does put 100% into everything she does at College and is on track to pursue a career in horticulture at the end of her course. It has been a pleasure working with Charlotte and we wish her well with her future in Horticulture.” 

The BALI Chalk Fund Student of the Year competition is an annual event, where students from colleges around the country are put forward for recognition of their achievements and talent. Successful nominees are awarded a certificate and cash prize and are automatically entered into the National Landscape Student of the Year Award at the BALI National Awards Ceremony.  

Looking to her future, Charlotte commented on the award “Over the next five years, I would love to take on more landscaping opportunities and find out more about the skills and techniques, so that I can link them to my work. I have decided to put the prize money towards a new set of tools that I can use both in my own garden and in future jobs!”. 

Another previous Sparsholt Apprentice, Tim Stafford, has beaten tough competition to be nominated as a finalist of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture’s ‘Young Horticulturalist of the Year’ Award. 

Tim started his journey on a Horticulture Operative Apprenticeship at Sparsholt College, before progressing onto the highly respected and competitive Kew Diploma in Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 

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.  

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.