Rosie Kippen, second year BSc (Hons) Horticulture student, won the regional final at Blooms of Bressingham yesterday (20 March) and will now go through to the Grand Final of the national competition on 10 May at the John Innes Centre, Norwich.
The 21-year-old, originally from Wivenhoe, who has just been employed as a horticultural runner for Alan Tichmarsh's show Love Your Garden, said: “The regional final was really close - I only beat the second place competitor, who was from Cambridge University Botanic Garden, by one point, overtaking her on the very last question.
“I came second in the Writtle College heat of the competition last year but to win the College heat and now the regional final this year has been brilliant! I’m really pleased with the result and excited for the final on the 10 May!”
Mick Lavelle, Horticulture Lecturer at the College, said: “It was an exciting event and one that went right to the wire. In fairness, the entrant from Cambridge was also brilliant and it was neck-and-neck right until the end when Rosie won the competition on the very last question. I was on the edge of my seat!”
The College has enjoyed success in the Institute of Horticulture competition in previous years, with alumnus Ben Turner being named Young Horticulturist of the Year and alumnus James Hearsum (who set up the popular student-led James Hearsum Lecture Series at the College) getting through to the final.
A prestigious annual competition which attracts over 1,800 entrants each year, the winner receives the Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, worth £2,000, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society. This funds a horticultural tour anywhere in the world. It is open to any horticulturist who is below the age of 30, including those employed in horticulture or anyone studying for a horticultural qualification.
The competition is run in three phases - local heats (one of which is run at Writtle College every year), Regional Finals and the Grand Final.