Adam Wood, 25, from Ormesby in Middlesbrough with Horticulture Lecturer David Scott

Students Battle It Out In Young Horticulturist Of The Year Competition Heats 2017

East Durham College’s Houghall Campus has once again played host the County Durham heats of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture’s Young Horticulturist of the Year (YHOY) competition.

The first round heat of this prestigious national competition saw 13 budding horticulturists compete in a challenging multiple choice quiz; with the winner claiming the right to advance on to the Northern England regional finals.

It was a very closely fought contest with three students tied for first place, who then had to face a series of further tie-break questions.

Eventually, Adam Wood, 25, from Ormesby in Middlesbrough, prevailed to claim top spot and a place in the next round and took home the £40 prize. Nathan Thomas, 22, from Thorntree in Middlesbrough, was second and third went to Terry Jacques, 20, from Bishop Auckland.

Adam, who’s on a horticulture apprenticeship working for Middlesbrough Environment City based at the old Nature’s World site, will now travel to the regional finals which will take place at the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate in March; where he will face a host of horticulture-related questions in both a quick fire buzzer round and one-to-one Mastermind style round.

“The questions were incredibly hard and really tested your knowledge,” Adam admitted.

“It was so close between us all but I was really pleased to manage to win. I’ll certainly be revising hard ahead of the next round.”

East Durham College horticulture lecture, Dave Scott, praised all the students for their performance in the competition.

Dave said: “It’s super to see the students want to get involved in this prestigious competition.

“The questions are very challenging and it was a great chance for the students to demonstrate what they have learnt on their courses so far.

“The students were really enthusiastic and performed very well on the day. Well done to all of them and I wish Adam all the best in the northern finals in Harrogate.”

For anyone under 30, the YHoY competition is a fantastic opportunity for young people to explore an interest in horticulture, test their knowledge and get the opportunity to network with horticultural enthusiasts all over the UK and Ireland.

The winner of the regional final will advance to the 27th Grand Final which is being held at the University Centre Shrewsbury on May 6th 2017. The University is home of Percy Thrower and the Shropshire Horticultural Society, platinum sponsors of the competition and the travel bursary prize.

Prizes valued at more than £10,000 are on offer including the coveted Percy Thrower Travel Bursary of £2500 for the Grand Final winner.

Houghall also allowed students aged over 30 to take part so they could also benefit from the experience and student Beth Wilson, from Langley Moor Durham,  came first in that age group winning a copy of RHS’s book What Plant Where.

Houghall students have been successful in the competition in the recent past with former student Chris Parsons winning the 2014 national title. Chris now works as a gardener on Lord Heseltine's 50-acre Thenford estate near Banbury.

If you are interested in studying horticulture at Houghall, please visit our website's horticulture courses section or call Student Services on 0191 375 4710.