Green-fingered Charlotte White wins Bali Chalk Fund Award for National Landscape Student of the Year
A PASSION for plants has led Lymington teenager Charlotte White to be honoured as the UK’s top young gardener at a prestigious awards ceremony.
Former Priestlands School and Sparsholt College student Charlotte White (18) attended an award ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel to receive the Bali Chalk Fund Award for National Landscape Student of the Year.
The accolade comes months after she and a team of fellow students also scooped a silver gilt medal at the Chelsea Flower Show, as reported in the A&T.
They earned the Chelsea award for their intricate creation celebrating the 300th anniversary of pioneering ecologist Gilbert White who lived in Selborne, Hampshire.
Charlotte’s interest for horticulture first began when she was at Priestlands in Lymington and undertook a fortnight’s work experience placement at Everton Nurseries.
She recalled: “My brother works at Everton Nurseries and I thought it sounded quite fun so I decided to give it a go.
“I didn’t even really know what horticulture was back then but I really loved it and it inspired me to do some growing of my own.”
She was nominated for the award by her former horticulture teacher Steve Smith, who travelled up to the prize-giving with her.
She added: “I found out I had been shortlisted in the summer and then in October I got the news that I had been chosen as the national award winner. It was really incredible and very exciting.
“I received a £500 prize as part of the award – which I will be saving for now but eventually I will probably use it on buying some of my own tools.”
After leaving Priestlands, Charlotte attended Sparsholt College where she studied for a Level 3 diploma in horticulture and eventually achieved a distinction.
She said: “I have also been able to get my hedgecutting ticket, my spraying tickets and ride-on mower qualifications.”
Charlotte currently works full time at Everton Nurseries, where she said she has received “incredible support” to develop her skills.
She ultimately hopes to open her own landscape gardening business.
The Bali Chalk Fund was set up in 1975 in memory of Geoffrey Chalk to help provide funding for skills development across the landscape industry.
It develops training programmes for young gardeners, runs competitions and provides grants and travel scholarships.