Emma McFarline, who was awarded a £1,500 the Floranova Scholarship while studying for a Foundation Degree in Horticulture at CAFRE Greenmount College, shares her news since receiving the scholarship…
“Since receiving the Floranova Scholarship I have been able to complete my horticultural studies on the Foundation Degree course at CAFRE as the financial assistance and generosity the David Colegrave Foundation has provided me, allowed me to pay for my final tuition fees. I can happily report that I recently graduated from the Foundation Degree course with a distinction and was also awarded three special prizes by my college which included, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Prize for being the top student, the Alpine Garden Plant Society Award for Plantsmanship, and the Raja Huran Perpetual Award for the Highest Achievement in Science and Technology.
I also recently spent a week working at Floranova (as part of my scholarship), which was an amazing and thoroughly fascinating experience. The staff there were very welcoming and encouraging, and I was extremely impressed by their knowledge and expertise, which they were very kind to share with me. While I was there, I was shown around all areas within the company and spent each day with staff from different departments in order to give me an insight into every stage of the plant breeding process.
While there I spent a lot of time with Nadine, who is a plant breeder and the director of product development at Floranova. She introduced me to many of the projects they were working on (which were at various stages) and I assisted her with selection. I also worked with another plant breeder Marie, who got me to emasculate plants (to prevent selfing) and cross-pollinate various plants within different projects. I was also introduced to the tissue culture work they do at Floranova, and assisted staff in creating new cultures and subcultures, and observed the various tests each batch of seed is put through in the seed quality assurance department.
Additionally, I also worked with Catherine from the seed technology department and Stuart from the seed processing department who both showed me the various types of processes and machinery that they use to sort seed and improve seed quality and germination rates.
I hugely enjoyed every day that I spent at Floranova, and was continually amazed by how much time, effort, research and expertise goes into creating new F1 hybrids. My time there has really made me appreciate how variable and complex plant breeding from seed really is, and I don’t think that I will ever look at a packet of seed in the same way again! It’s also cemented my interest in horticultural research and has inspired me to study plant genetics as I’m interested in pursuing a career as a plant breeder in the future.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the David Colegrave Foundation and Floranova for their generosity and encouragement, it has meant a lot to me. I whole-heartedly encourage anyone interested in horticultural research to apply for the a Scholarship as it not only helps to support you financially, but also provides you with the unique opportunity to work in a fascinating area of horticulture.”