Lachlan Rae, a horticulture student at Scotland’s Rural College, has won the Scottish final of the Institute of Horticulture’s Young Horticulturalist of the Year.
After winning the Edinburgh heats, and then the Regional Final in Glasgow, the 21 year old student will now progress to the national final to be held in Norwich on 10 May.
At each stage of the competition a Question Master asks a wide range of horticultural questions, some are on a buzzer, to test out the speed of thinking as well as the depth of knowledge, and some are directed to individual contestants. Questions cover all areas of horticulture including plant identification, fruit and vegetable production, pest, weed and disease identification, and sports turf and lawn care.
Lachlan believes his time spent studying at SRUC and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh helped him throughout the competition.
He says: “I would like to thank Phil Lusby of the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens especially as I found his teaching extremely useful in both rounds of the competition.
“I think that entering into the competition has given me something really worthwhile to put onto my CV as well as giving me the opportunity to meet some interesting people. Anyone interested in horticulture should consider entering competitions like this as they are a great opportunity for anyone looking to test their knowledge, meet people with similar interests, have fun, go to nice places, win great prizes, gain employability, meet prospective employers, make contacts within the industry, gain recognition… the list goes on!”
The Young Horticulturist of the Year competition attracts over 1,800 entrants each year and the overall winner receives the Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, worth £2,000, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society. This funds a horticultural tour to anywhere in the world. Any horticulturist under 30 can enter so at the Grand Final Lachlan could find himself up against horticultural trainees, college or university students or full-time gardeners or plantsmen.