Gardener Named Best in Britain
Bolton-by-Bowland nursery owner John Foley, aged 24, has become the first winner of the prestigious BBC Young Gardener of the Year award. Rising to the top from 700 hopefuls Johns victory was broadcast on BBC 3 on sunday 12th February. His obvious deep knowledge of plants and first hand experience of running his own nursery gave him a distinct advantage over his competitors. The programme set several varied tasks relating to plant and soil recognition, landscape design and most importantly, in the final challenge, how in practical terms to use his knowledge and ability to produce a garden for the modern day busy family.
The judges were impressed with John's in-depth knowledge for someone of such a young age on such a variety of subjects, his overall knowledge being judged far superior to the other contestants who had backgrounds in Garden Design and Garden maintenance.
Holden Clough Nursery is nestled in the Forest of Bowland near Clitheroe in Lancashire since 1927. John's father took over the nursery in 1978 and throughout John's childhood he helped his dad potting and weeding, learning as he went a developing a love for growing plants. Having grown up with gardening in his blood John took a particular interest in Crocosmias building up collection of over 140 different varieties of this plant that has now become nationally recognised. Taking over his father's nursery in 2009 John, with girlfriend Kate, they have successfully progressed and improved the business winning numerous awards culminating in the nurseries first RHS Gold award at the Tatton Park Flower Show 2011. 2012 now sees John flying the flag for all young gardeners accross the country as he proudly takes on the mantle of the very first BBC Young Gardener of the Year.