Regional placing in Young Horticulturalist of the Year

Top three spot for Carla

If you need to know anything about plants, make sure you seek out Carla Ward-Best at our Ottery St Mary branch.

Earlier this year Carla came third in the South West regional finals of the Young Horticulturalist of the Year – after deciding to enter at the very last minute!

After contacting the organisers, she had a Skype interview where she had to answer 40 questions. Carla got the highest points in her heat, and went on to the Regional Finals, held at Knightshayes.

Carla said the contest was a bit like University Challenge. “Some rounds were first to the buzzer, and others had individual questions. Subjects included pests and diseases and plant identification.”

With stiff competition, Carla was thrilled to be placed third and receive £75. This was an impressive result for her first attempt, as 2,500 young horticulturalists entered the competition this year.

However, she is determined to enter again next year and be in with a chance of winning. The top prize is £2500 travel bursary enabling the winner to go on a plant expedition of their own making.

Carla, who is just 22, is currently taking a Masters in Horticulture at RHS Wiseley, which she visits once a month. She has been working at Otter Garden Centres in Ottery St Mary since March 2011.

About the Young Horticulturalist competition

The first recorded national final was held in 1990 at Writtle College in Essex. The Shropshire Horticultural Society funds much of the competition including the £2,500 travel bursary awarded to the winner each year. The funds come from a trust set up in honour of the first celebrity gardener, Percy Thrower.

Find out more here.