13 November 2015
Fantastic news in Auckland last night - Tom was placed as runner up in this years Young Horticulturist of the Year awards - congratulations Tom, just reward for your efforts in the months just past. And thanks too to all those who have supported Tom as he's prerpared for Young Horticulturist of the Year, especially employers Southern Woods.
21 Augsut 2015
Congratulations to Tom Ferguson of Southern Woods Nursery who won the Young Achiever title for 2015. The two contestants, Tom, and Ben Jones from Lyndale Nurseries, competed in a day of activities at Growing Spectrum nursery. The day ended with a dinner at a local restaurant with over 40 members and associates in attendance. Tom and Ben each presented a three minute speech, the last activity for the day, before the winner was announced.
"I had the pleasure of representing Southern Woods Nursery at the 2015 Young Achiever competition. Taking part allowed me to meet a wide range of industry leaders and experience a different part of the country. We were tested in all aspects of the nursery and garden trade, including plant propagation, plant identification, merchandising and budgeting. Highlights included a guided tour around the Growing Spectrum nursery, meeting the fun NextGen crew, and a fantastic dinner at “Out in the Styx” while hearing from Carol Fraser about the history of the Maungatautari Ecological Island trust.
I’d like to thank my colleagues at Southern Woods, both past and present. Special thanks to my bosses Chris and Nalin, as well as my mentors John Keoghan, Alan Coburn and the late Murray Mannall for introducing me to this fantastic industry and cultivating my passion for plants. Working in both the garden centre and production nursery has given me a strong grounding in the various skills and issues of the nursery and garden trade.
I encourage all aspiring young achievers in the nursery and garden industry to give the competition a go, it’s a great experience and an invaluable networking opportunity. I’ve met people who share my passion for plants, both young and old, including NextGen members who made a special trip down for the occasion. I’m excited and proud to represent the nursery and garden industry in this year’s Young Horticulturalist competition. I will be working hard preparing myself over the next few months, and I look forward to doing the nursery and garden sector proud up in Auckland."
Special thanks must go to the judges and support people for their vital contributions, and in particular to Peter & Carol Fraser, Grant Eyre and the staff of Growing Spectrum for providing a fantastic venue for the competition and wonderful hospitality. And the Waikato weather was good too!
Tom will represent NGINZ in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition, in November, managed by the RNZIH Education Trust, where the Grand Final offers a prize pool of more than $35,000. And following this, Tom can enjoy his Young Achiever prize of a 4 night trip to Melbourne, taking in a visit to the 2016 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
NGINZ thanks Mark and Mary Stevenson of HortFert Plus for their sponsorship of this award. Thanks also to Primary ITO for their support, and the hard work put in by the judges Carol Fraser, Pip McVicar, Kelly Jean Kerr, Trina Tully and Helen van der Werff.
Tom, 2015 Young Achiever with Mark Stevenson from HortFert Plus
Helen van der Werff (Primary ITO), Ben Jones (Lyndale Nurseries), Tom Ferguson (Southern Woods Nursery), Mark Stevenson (HortFert Plus)
Tom celebrating with staff at Southern Woods Nursery