PRODUCT Development Co-ordinator Ben Gregory at Wyevale Nurseries has won the International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS) International Exchange Award.
The 23-year-old is currently in America as part of the award win joining the IPPS International Tour visiting some of the most innovative nurseries and research stations in the US.
Ben explained: “I am ecstatic to have won the IPPS International Exchange Award. It is an amazing opportunity for me as the IPPS tour is attended by growers, researchers and business owners from across the world. It will be a fantastic platform for me to network and share knowledge, techniques and experience.
“I started the tour on October 3 in New Orleans and will travel to Biloxi, Mobile, Tallahassee and Tampa. I am then joining the IPPS Southern Region Conference in Tampa from October 10 until 14, again visiting world class nurseries in Florida and attending a great range of lectures and presentations from speakers from across the world.
“I will get to visit places such as Hackney Nursery, which covers nearly 600 acres, it specialises in container grown shrubs, perennials and groundcovers in containers, Green’s Nursery, which focuses on camellia production along with some other rare and unusual plants and GreenForest Nursery, owned by long time IPPS member, Dan Batson. GreenForest focuses on large container production and is noted for its magnolias. I can’t wait to see all these nurseries first hand.”
The Young Horticulturist Six-Pack Award is the opportunity for six young adults to travel, expenses paid, to the European Region annual conference. Ben was chosen as one of the winners and attended the 2014 conference in Denmark, he was then selected as the overall winner to take part in the international exchange scheme.
Entry to the award each year is open to anyone either already working in commercial ornamental horticulture or studying to enter the industry, either from the UK or Europe, who is under the age of 30.
The IPPS members read each application and professional nomination from employers or lecturers and as a successful candidate Ben was required to assist the conference organisers throughout the duration of the 2014 event and carry out various duties. The IPPS members got to know each of the six packers as they helped with the conference and then picked Ben as the winner of the IPPS International Exchange Award.
Tim Lawrance-Owen, Vice-President of IPPS European Region, who was on the panel that interviewed the applicants during the conference last year, explained: “Ben showed himself to be highly motivated with a desire to develop a career in the industry combined with a readiness to get involved and participate in many aspects of the conference.
“He will gain greatly from his experiences visiting nurseries in the Southern USA and apply them in his work. We look forward to hearing his report at next year’s conference.”
Wyevale Nurseries is one of the largest family-run wholesale nurseries in the UK. It was established in 1930 by Harry Williamson, a horticulturist and entrepreneur. It became the company it is today under the leadership of his son, Peter, who sadly passed away in 2011.
The Williamsons’ saw the opportunity to sell their product to an undeveloped retail market, creating one of the first garden centres, followed by a chain. In 1987, the retail side needed to expand and the 19 garden centres were sold as a PLC.
The family then turned its focus to Wyevale Nurseries Ltd. It continues to be a family-run business with ownership and joint chairmanship currently being held by the third generation, Heather and Simeon Williamson, with plans for the fourth generation to takeover in the future.
Wyevale Nurseries has a significant product range and is regularly introducing new plants. It offers a large variety of trees, shrubs, hedging, herbaceous and specimen plants to garden centres, landscape contractors, local authorities, foresters and landowners.
For further details about Wyevale Nurseries, which is based in Hereford, please call 01432 845 200, visit www.wyevalenurseries.co.uk, follow the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WyevaleNurs or log on to www.facebook.com/WyevaleNurs.