Caroline, who won a Student Scholarship of £1,000 while studying Foundation Degree in Horticulture at CAFRE Greenmount College, shares her news since receiving the scholarship…

“Having received the DCF Student Scholarship, I have since completed my first year of my Foundation Degree in Horticulture at CAFRE Greenmount College, currently employed as a skilled gardener at Historic Royal Palaces Hillsborough Castle and commenced my studies for my final year of the Foundation Degree in Horticulture, specialising in Production Horticulture.

I am now planning to utilise my scholarship to help with acquiring equipment for my investigative project in aeroponics this year. I am currently devising an investigation into the effect different growing substrates have on the growth of Spinach in hydroponic aeroponics. As of now I am specifically researching possible equipment that could aid with the measuring of growth and crop quality to attain in depth results to discuss in my investigative report.

For my level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture, I focused my investigative project on hydroponics and research into alternative hydroponic growing media which sparked my interest in modern growing techniques and crop quality management.

Images include growing Basil, Ocimum basilicum, in hydroponic system at CAFRE level 3 EDH.







I also have taken interest in plant evolution and the photosynthesis of C3, C4, CAM plants from research I carried out for a plant science laboratory report. I find this area of plant science such as the reading involved, for example on experimental studies, to be thought provoking and see how research into this area has been important to commercial horticulture through manipulation of growing environments to maximise crop yields and for sustainable means of production.

Types of equipment and growing media I plan to be use for investigation e.g. small scale aeroponics and clay pebble substrate, see pictures.

My future career plans and further interests are in plant pathology and plant diagnostics as I particularly enjoy plant science and plant health. I plan to further my studies through the completion of a BSc Honours Degree in Horticulture specialising in plant health and disease. I would like to explore studies into areas such as alternatives to herbicides, research and development into biological control and progress further to pursue a MSc and PhD in plant science and pathology.

What horticulture means to me?

“Horticulture should be our exercise” engaging in horticultural related activities can help improve our wellbeing, our environment and grow our knowledge.

I was recently selected by my college to attend the Chartered Institute of Horticulture Conference October 2017, where I acted as a student ambassador for CAFRE. This gave me an exciting opportunity to hear both inspirational and educational talks under the theme “Healthy Horticulture” and network with industry support, members and growers. This experience was insightful and has served to spur on my enthusiasm in the subject of Horticulture. As a student ambassador I actively promote the benefits Horticulture has on health and wellbeing and see Horticulture being the future science that all people should have opportunity to engage in.

Photo taken at CIH Conference October 2017, acting as CAFRE Student Ambassador.

Having saved my Scholarship to use for supporting my studying this year, I now look forward to endeavoring in my investigative studies.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the David Colegrave Foundation for their support and the financial aid they have given me to attain my goals and aspirations. Receiving the Scholarship has been a major highlight to my year at CAFRE and I would encourage other students to apply. The David Colegrave Foundation offers a variety of possible Scholarships in aiding with studying, travelling and work experience which is especially beneficial to passionate individuals in Horticulture.

I graduated on the 26th June 2018 from Greenmount, College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), achieving a Distinction in a Foundation Degree in Horticulture. I received a letter of Merit from the Course Manager, acknowledging my overall strong performance. This was my final year at CAFRE and I have been accepted on to the final year of an Honours Degree in Horticulture at Writtle College University, Chelmsford, Essex, commencing in September.