Warrenstown College Student Wins Young Horticulturist of the Year 2007
3 May 2007
Jimmy O’Connor, a first year BSc in horticulture student at the Salesian College of Horticulture, Warrenstown, County Meath, stormed home to win the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition 2007. The competition was held at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin last weekend. It is organised annually by the Institute of Horticulture and brings together the winners of the eight regional finals throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
Jimmy received a cheque for £2,000 sterling (approx. €2,900) from the Percy Thrower Trust, to be used to travel to a location, of his choosing, to undertake research into plants and horticulture at that destination. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Jimmy said: “I would like to visit an area of the world where the flora may vanish in the not too distant future. In particular I am thinking about the Arctic whose flora may have a limited lifespan.”
Jimmy, a proud Galway GAA fan, comes from Ardrahan in County Galway and knows what it is like to be on a winning team, having successfully represented his former secondary school in quiz finals. He completed a FETAC Certificate in Horticulture last year at Warrenstown College, receiving a distinction. He is currently studying for his first year exams in the BSc course in horticulture, which is jointly offered by the Salesian College at Warrenstown and the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown. Upon completion of his BSc degree, he plans to follow a career in green keeping. He has worked at a garden centre and nursery, and this summer will work on a golf course, building up experience for his future.
Harold Lawlor, principal at the Salesian College, said:
“On behalf of
the college and myself we are delighted for Jimmy. He is a very dedicated
student and a great all-rounder. This showed in the concise manner in which he
answered the questions. When you consider the calibre of the runners-up, a
garden centre manager, a college lecturer and an employee of the Cambridge
University Botanic Gardens, Jimmy’s achievement is all the more pleasing.”
Teagasc Director of Education and Development, Donal Carey, extended his congratulations to Jimmy, Harold and the college on this wonderful achievement. Teagasc works closely with the college providing Further Level and Higher Level courses for young entrants and work-based training programmes for adults.
The Irish branch of the Institute of Horticulture is very grateful to Bord Bia for their continued generous sponsorship of the competition. Their assistance ensures the smooth and successful running of the Irish heats and finals.
The Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition is now running for 16 years and is aimed at those who are under 30 years-of-age and are either studying or working in horticulture. The competition is held in three stages: preliminary heats, regional finals and the National Final. Heats begin in the autumn at centres throughout Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, with questions on all aspects of production and amenity/environmental horticulture: crops, pests and diseases, plant and machinery identification, plant science and garden design and history.