Winner 2024 Young Horticulturist of the Year: Jonathan Zerr

Earlier this week, Jonathan Zerr was announced as the winner of the 2024 Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.

Young Horticulturist of the Year competition finalists for 2024

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, the annual competition is open to anyone under the age of thirty. The first recorded national final was held in 1990 at Writtle College in Essex.

The 2024 winner, Jonathan Zerr, holds an RHS Level 4 Diploma and is currently working both at Helmingham Hall and Benton End in Suffolk, where he is working towards his aspiration of managing historic plant collections and fostering cultural heritage and biodiversity within a historic garden setting.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet like-minded gardeners at the Grand Final. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and anticipation, and despite the competitive nature of the event, there was a strong sense of camaraderie among the finalists. Representatives of the CIH emphasized the importance of utilising the final as a networking opportunity, so throughout the day, finalists and attendees alike exchanged insights and perspectives on the challenges facing the industry.”

As the winner of this year’s competition, Zerr receives a £2,500 Percy Thrower Travel Bursary provided by the Percy Thrower Trust, which he will be able to use to fund a horticultural venture anywhere in the world.

Second place went to Scotland Regional Finalist, James Douglass, who is currently a 4th year BSc (Hons) Horticulture and Plantsmanship student at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Scotland’s Rural College, conducting his honours project on a fungal pathogen of Scots Pine at Forest Research.

Lawrence Western, the West Midlands and South Wales Regional Finalist, won third place. Western is currently employed as a Professional Work Placement student in the Kitchen Garden at RHS Rosemoor, Torrington.

Round One of the 2025 Young Horticulturist of the Year competition opens on Saturday, the 1st of February 2025.