Young Gardener of the Year gets royal approval

Young Gardener of the Year gets royal approval
    There was a regal surprise in store for green-fingered contestants this week as a very special guest was top of the bill.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) welcomed Camilla Parker-Bowles to give out awards to young and promising gardeners.

Winner Tom Galligan was presented with a top prize, a £500 gift certificate for his school and certificate as well as the coveted title of RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2013.

Celebrity judges of the event unanimously picked the 16-year-old to be the overall winner of the event for his knowledge and passion for plants.

Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said: “Tom has remarkable ambassadorial skills and his enthusiasm is inspirational. With not enough young people coming into British horticulture today, we’re crying out for exceptional young people like him."

Tom was absolutely thrilled with the accolade, after being a gardening fan since he was only five years old: "I became interested was because my dad would grow vegetables in the garden which I’d eat and really enjoy, and it all carried on from there."

He added: "I think it’s so important to encourage people my age to get into gardening and this award will, I’m sure, help achieve this."

The rising gardening star from New Mills School Business & Enterprise College in Derbyshire admitted that he was a little star struck when he met Camilla, saying that her being there "makes it all the more special".

Other category winners included seven-year-old Ben Rockley from Gilthill Primary School, Nottingham, 11-year-old Larson Smith from Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School and Daniela Sergejeva, 13, from President Kennedy School in Coventry, who all showed their planting prowess.

An annual event, the RHS is always looking for fresh talent to welcome to the gardening world. Contestants aged six to 16 are asked to show their desire to create beautiful gardens and work with the natural world all year round.

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