Winner of the 2024
Young Horticulturist
of the Year revealed

After a hotly contested final (following an impressive array of regional competitions), Jonathan Zerr clinched the top spot to be crowned the 2024 Young Horticulturist of the Year at the Grand final in Hestercombe House and Gardens, Taunton, Somerset 

According to the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, the knowledge across this year’s finalists was spectacular, and the competition could have gone in any direction, however, it was Jonathan who pulled out in front of the pack in the last round to take the top spot.

Jonathan holds an RHS Level 4 Diploma and is currently splitting his time between 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.

He commented: “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, Jonathan receives the £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. James 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. Once he has finished his degree, he will be joining the RBGE teaching team.

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


National Organiser, Victoria George, said “I was so excited to be heading to Hestercombe for this year’s final, and the day did not disappoint. We had an amazing venue, beautiful weather, and a fantastic set of finalists who really put their all into enjoying the day, networking and getting stuck into those questions!”