[3 October/Rural Life]

According to Otago Polytechnic Graduate, Morgan Hampton, contesting the title of New Zealand’s top young horticulturist was not for the faint hearted, but was a great opportunity. He owned Bluestone Gardeners and Nursery. He made it to the final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year, alongside five other competitors. The grand final would be held in Auckland on November 7 and 8. He had undertaken a three year apprenticeship at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, and said being outside and stimulated all the time was what attracted him to the industry. He carried out garden maintenance and development, as well as specialising in growing primulas, succulents, and general woodland plants. He noted the competition had a component of running a business which included a lot of leadership skills. Finalists would compete for a prize pool of more than $55,000.